Wednesday 9 December 2015

New Nanoparticle Steals Light, Beams It Stronger


New Nanoparticle - Layers of Unusual Materials

New type of ceramic nanoparticle has been developed by physicist, which is said to be making it easier to track drugs in the body, screen counterfeit money as well as boost the ability of solar cells to capture more energy. The particle which is onion-like is about 50 nanometres wide that is around 1000 times smaller than a human hair or the size of a virus.

Made from layers of unusual materials, its coating is of organic dye, a neodymium shell with a core made of ytterbium and thulium. Combined together, the layers tend to convert invisible near infrared light to blue and ultraviolet – UV light with high proficiency. The capability of changing one type of light to another is known as `up-conversion’ wherein this particle has the potential to do it 100 times more competently than the other particles.

The same is important since such particle can improve many prevailing technologies that tend to utilise dyes, biomarkers or fluorescent tracers. According to Tymish Y. Ohulchanskyy, deputy director University at Buffalo’s Institute, for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics – ILPB, he states that the particle for instance, could be utilised in special inks which could be invisible to the human eye, but tend to glow blue when it is hit by a low-energy laser pulse.

Develops Its Glow during Up-Conversion Procedure

Ohulchanskyy is of the opinion that the particles can be used in ensuring that expensive drugs reach their mark in the body. Presently the same is being done by using bio-imaging, which is a technique that labels cells with markers that shine under ultraviolet light shining from specialized imagers.

However, fluorescent markers could throw the incoming light from the imaging device but the latest nanoparticle does not do so. On the contrary it develops its own glow during the up-conversion procedure.

Ohulchanskyy comments that this feature is such which none of the other materials have displayed. Researchers state that the particle’s dye performs as an antenna, collecting photons from low-energy light sources. Shell of the neodymium handovers the energy to the core, wherein the ytterbium as well as the thulium accumulates the energy of many photons at once, emitting it as a single photon of blue and UV light.

Design Helpful in Overcoming Long-Standing Obstacles

Professor of chemistry at the University of Maryland as well as an expert in nanoparticles, Zhihong Nie, stated that he `was impressed with the new three layer particle. It is an outstanding paper in general. He further added that it is interesting to look at the energy cascade phenomenon and it should not be hard to replicate. He is of the belief that they could be able to scale it up’.

 Guanying Chen, professor of chemistry at Harbin Institute of Technology and ILPB research associate, has commented saying that `by creating special layers which helps in transferring energy efficiently from the surface of the particle to the core, which emits blue and UV light, the design helps in overcoming some of the long-standing obstacles which earlier technologies faced.

The research had been published in the journal – NanoLetters. It was led by researchers at SUNY-Buffalo, the Harbin Institute of Technology in China together with contributions from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Tomsk State University in Russia and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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