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Nanocrystals and dendrimers as markers in biology

from the small-points-of-light dept.
Gina Miller writes "The EE Times article Synthesis of nanoparticles coming into focus, by R. Colin Johnson, July 16, 2002, describes progress with two types of nanoparticles: work done at the University of Arkansas on colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, and work done at Michigan's Center for Biologic Nanotechnology on organic dendrimers." "The Arkansas researchers have developed a 'green' chemical method to make nanocrystals of II-VI semiconductors of precise sizes so no toxic by-products are produced. Xiaogang Peng, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry says 'The tunable reactivity of our monomers provides the necessary balance between nucleation and growth, and that is the key for controlling their size and the distribution of different sizes.' Fluorescent properties of the nanocrystals vary precisely with the size of the nanoparticles, making them promising as biological markers."

"Under a $2 million NASA grant, the Michigan workers are developing dendrimers with molecules on the surface that will fluoresce inside white blood cells according to the state of health of the cells. Fluorescent cells could be detected by scanning the eye as the cells file through the capillaries of the retina, 'suggesting that medical applications may be an immediate practical application for nanotechnology.'"

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