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Production of multifunctional au nanoparticles and development of appropriate characterization techniques

An upscaled version of our current demo ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (usp) will be set up for production of multifunctional au nanoparticles (m-gnps) at zlatarna celje. New protocols for characterization techniques of m-gnps will be developed in order to obtain the required final properties

Nanomaterials (nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanopyramids,…) have different properties compared to materials with ordinary dimensions. Their altered physical and chemical properties come from a large surface-to-volume ratio and a high surface activity. Especially interesting are gold nanoparticles (GNPs), as they have an additional property, called Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) → leading to good optical properties. This causes oscillation of the conduction electrons on the surface of the nanoparticles, stimulated by incident light. Furthermore, GNPs have good physical and chemical properties, and they are usually biologically unreactive and, as such, are suitable for biomedical imaging and therapy. Such GNPs can be functionalized with an organic or bio-molecular monolayer (such as PEG, other stabilizers, peptides, drugs etc.) forming multifunctional M-GNPs. Because of the M-GNPs` structure they exploit multiple properties combined by the influence of the Au core and the monolayer. Since M-GNPs have a high atomic number and electron density these lead to efficient absorption of X-ray irradiation, superior to conventional contrast agents. Changes in size, shape and surface modifications of M-GNPs also influence scattering, providing an opportunity to tune the agent to possess the optimal light scattering performance. Moreover, it could be possible to make M-GNPs useful for a number of different applications (as coatings, for jewellery, in electronics, catalysis, fuel cell applications, smart devices, storage devices, photovoltaics, photo-sensors, pharmaceutical and cosmetics, chemistry and biomedicine). For coatings and jewellery, little modification of their surface is needed, as the required optical properties are already obtained through modifying their shapes and sizes. For more demanding applications, such as in biomedicine, surface modifications are also needed, where their surface is functionalized with the desired compounds. The use of nanoparticles is expected to increase greatly in various products on the market for consumer electronics, automobiles, aerospace, sporting goods, household cleaning materials, foods, construction and biomedicine. Therefore, functionalized generated M-GNPs will be assessed within the consortium using well-developed in vitro and in vivo models for their applicability in these areas. The results from biological examinations will provide the opportunity to generate unique M-GNP products on the market with proven applicability for their specific biomedical applications in dentistry and photo-thermal cancer therapy. Currently, several methods for producing GNPs exist and are being developed, while the demands for larger quantities of M-GNPs are increasing. Our aim is to meet these demands for M-GNPs` production with our synthesis method Ultrasonic Spray Pyrolysis (USP). An upscaled version of our current demo USP will be set up for production of M-GNPs at Zlatarna Celje (ZC). USP is a promising continuous nanoparticle synthesis technique, capable of producing M-GNPs with controlled final properties. In comparison to other techniques, it has relatively low investment and operation costs, and is environmentally harmless. The USP production line will be based upon our extensive knowledge of this process, acquired through our previous research and practical experience over more than 10 years. The upscaling of the current demo USP represents an opportunity for the southern and eastern European regions, as no production of GNPs on a larger scale is currently present here. The new industrial USP device will have to resolve some issues that are still present in the demo production process. The additional goal is to increase the efficiency of USP and to achieve M-GNP production levels of at least 100 mg/h. Controlling nanoparticle sizes and morphology and final functionalizing of their surface will be enhanced by a modular design of the USP device, in connection with established and newly developed characterisation techniques. Attention will also be paid to the development of appropriate GNP functionalization. The GNPs are first to be produced by USP and then functionalized to forming M-GNPs, depending on their intended use. In order to obtain information about the M-GNPs` properties, characterization technique approaches (TEM, DLS, HRTEM, FIB, etc.) will be combined and unified from miscellaneous existing techniques. In this way, the full spectrum of properties and features of the produced M-GNPs will be known, which is not achievable with other analysis methods. The determination of various characteristics of M-GNPs (sizes, shapes, composition, crystal structure, etc.) will also provide feedback about the required USP technological parameters for improving the production and further developing and optimising the USP process.
Acronym: 
PRO-NANO
Project ID: 
11 198
Start date: 
01-04-2017
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
1 090 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Materials Technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.