Finding the right recipe: Researchers tailor magnetic nanoparticles for medical treatment & diagnosis

Nanoparticles that possess magnetic properties offer exciting new opportunities for delivering drugs to targeted areas in the body, replacing radioactive tracer materials, improving the quality of noninvasive medical imaging, and producing ever-smaller data storage devices. But before these magnetic nanoparticles gain widespread use, scientists must learn to consistently control their key properties.

Using only variations in chemistry and process conditions, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have learned to precisely control the size and magnetic properties of one class of magnetic nanoparticles. Their goal is a "recipe book" other researchers could use to produce nanoparticles with exactly the right properties for different applications.

"If you are going to produce these nanoparticles for large-scale use, you cannot guess at the conditions or rely on intuition," said Dr. John Zhang, Georgia Tech assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "We are understanding the fundamental ways to control the properties of these particles, chemically manipulating the magnetic interactions at the atomic level. We want to control these properties through chemical means."

Zhang will present his research team's latest findings at the 219th national meeting of the American Chemical Society March 26, 2000 in San Francisco. The team includes Adam J. Rondinone, Anna C.S. Samia, Chao Liu, and Richard Anderson.

Because each potential application for the magnetic nanoparticles requires different properties, the work is essential to their future use as carriers of drugs, tracers and MRI contrast enhancement agents. Also, it will provide insights to some key technical issues in high density information storage.

For instance, each particle possesses certain magnetic orientations just as the north or sout

Contact: John Toon
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News

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