John Garner

mPEG-PLGA from PolySciTech used in development of advanced AFM-IR nanoparticle characterization techniques

Blog Post created by John Garner on Apr 18, 2018

Khanal 2018 AFM peg-plga polyscitech.jpg

The best thing about nanotechnology is that it is small. The worst thing about nanotechnology is that it is small… very small… smaller than what a standard light microscope can typically observe. Naturally, obtaining meaningful information about the structure and morphology of nanoparticles is very difficult and requires advanced equipment and analysis techniques. Recently, researchers at University of Sydney (Australia) used mPEG-PLGA (PolyVivo AK037) from PolySciTech ( to generate nanorods and analyzed these using a combination of atomic force microscopy and infrared spectroscopy. These nano-analysis techniques allowed the researchers to measure the various mechanical, structural, and chemical properties of even a single nanoparticle with incredible precision and accuracy. This research holds promise to allow for improved characterization of nanoparticles which will enable better designs and synthesis in the future. Read more: Khanal, Dipesh, Bokai Zhang, Iqbal Ramzan, Curtis Marcott, Quan Li, and Wojciech Chrzanowski. "Probing Chemical and Mechanical Nanodomains in Copolymer Nanorods with Correlative Atomic Force Microscopy—Nanocorrescopy." Particle & Particle Systems Characterization (2018).

“Abstract: The interplay between size, shape, mechanical properties, and surface chemistry of nanoparticles orchestrates cellular internalization, toxicity, circulation time, and biodistribution. Therefore, the safety of nanoparticles hinges on our ability to quantify nanoscale physicochemical characteristics. Current characterization tools, due to their limited resolution, are unable to map these properties correlatively at nanoscale. An innovative use of atomic force microscopybased techniques, namely nanocorrescopy, overcomes this limitation and offers multiprobe capability to map mechanical (viscous and elastic) and chemical domains of nanoparticles correlatively. The strengths of this approach are demonstrated using polymer composite nanorods: mPEGPLGA ((mPEG–methoxypoly (ethylene glycol)bpoly (lacticcoglycolic) acid). Precise distribution of PLGA (monomers of lactide and glycolide) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) polymer across nanorods is identified. The hydrophobic lactide component is found predominantly at the apex, while hydrophilic glycolide and PEG assembled at the body of the nanorods and correlate with a gradient of nanomechanical properties. New knowledge of how both nanochemical domains and nanomechanical properties are distributed across the nanorod will allow elucidating the interactions of nanorods with the proteins and biomolecules in the future, which will directly influence the fate of nanorods in vivo and will guide new synthesis methods.”

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