Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 11

Self-Assembly Related Abstracts

11 Self-Assembled Nano Aggregates Based On Polyaspartamide Graft Copolymers for pH-Controlled Release of Doxorubicin

Authors: Van Tran Thi Thuy, Cheol Won Lim, Dukjoon Kim


A series of biodegradable copolymers based on polyaspartamide (PASPAM) were synthesized by grafting hydrophilic O-(2-aminoethyl)-O'-methylpoly(ethylene glycol) (MPEG), hydrophobic cholic acid (CA), and pH-sensitive hydrazine (Hyd) segments on a PASPAM backbone. The hydrazine group was effectively cleaved to release doxorubicin (DOX) conjugated on PASPAM in an acidic environment. The chemical structure of the polymer and the degree of substitution of each graft segment were analyzed using FT-IR and 1H-NMR spectroscopy. The size of the MPEG/Hyd/CA-g-PASPAM copolymer self-aggregates was examined by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). The mean diameter of the self - aggregates increased from 125 to 200 nm at pH 7.4, as the degree of substitution of CA increased from 10 to 20 %. The release kinetics of DOX was strongly affected by the pH of the releasing medium. While less than 30% of the DOX-loaded was released in about 30 h at pH 7.4, more than 60% was released at pH 5.0 within the same time. The viability tests of human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) and human embryonic kidney cells (293T) show the potential application of MPEG/Hyd/CA-g-PASPAM copolymer self-aggregates in the controlled intracellular delivery for cancer treatments.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, drug delivery, pH-sensitive, polyaspartamide, nano-aggregates

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10 Effect of Microstructure of Graphene Oxide Fabricated through Different Self-Assembly Techniques on Alcohol Dehydration

Authors: Wei-Song Hung


We utilized pressure, vacuum, and evaporation-assisted self-assembly techniques through which graphene oxide (GO) was deposited on modified polyacrylonitrile (mPAN). The fabricated composite GO/mPAN membranes were applied to dehydrate 1-butanol mixtures by pervaporation. Varying driving forces in the self-assembly techniques induced different GO assembly layer microstructures. XRD results indicated that the GO layer d-spacing varied from 8.3 Å to 11.5 Å. The self-assembly technique with evaporation resulted in a heterogeneous GO layer with loop structures; this layer was shown to be hydrophobic, in contrast to the hydrophilic layer formed from the other two techniques. From the pressure-assisted technique, the composite membrane exhibited exceptional pervaporation performance at 30 C: concentration of water at the permeate side = 99.6 wt% and permeation flux = 2.54 kg m-2 h-1. Moreover, the membrane sustained its operating stability at a high temperature of 70 C: a high water concentration of 99.5 wt% was maintained, and a permeation flux as high as 4.34 kg m-2 h-1 was attained. This excellent separation performance stemmed from the dense, highly ordered laminate structure of GO.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, Graphene Oxide, alcohol dehydration, polyacrylonitrile (mPAN)

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9 Self-Assembled Laser-Activated Plasmonic Substrates for High-Throughput, High-Efficiency Intracellular Delivery

Authors: Marinna Madrid, Nabiha Saklayen, Marinus Huber, Nicolas Vogel, Christos Boutopoulos, Michel Meunier, Eric Mazur


Delivering material into cells is important for a diverse range of biological applications, including gene therapy, cellular engineering and imaging. We present a plasmonic substrate for delivering membrane-impermeable material into cells at high throughput and high efficiency while maintaining cell viability. The substrate fabrication is based on an affordable and fast colloidal self-assembly process. When illuminated with a femtosecond laser, the light interacts with the electrons at the surface of the metal substrate, creating localized surface plasmons that form bubbles via energy dissipation in the surrounding medium. These bubbles come into close contact with the cell membrane to form transient pores and enable entry of membrane-impermeable material via diffusion. We use fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry to verify delivery of membrane-impermeable material into HeLa CCL-2 cells. We show delivery efficiency and cell viability data for a range of membrane-impermeable cargo, including dyes and biologically relevant material such as siRNA. We estimate the effective pore size by determining delivery efficiency for hard fluorescent spheres with diameters ranging from 20 nm to 2 um. To provide insight to the cell poration mechanism, we relate the poration data to pump-probe measurements of micro- and nano-bubble formation on the plasmonic substrate. Finally, we investigate substrate stability and reusability by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to inspect for damage on the substrate after laser treatment. SEM images show no visible damage. Our findings indicate that self-assembled plasmonic substrates are an affordable tool for high-throughput, high-efficiency delivery of material into mammalian cells.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, plasmonic, intracellular delivery, femtosecond laser

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8 Tailorability of Poly(Aspartic Acid)/BSA Complex by Self-Assembling in Aqueous Solutions

Authors: Loredana E. Nita, Aurica P. Chiriac, Elena Stoleru, Alina Diaconu, Tudorachi Nita


Self-assembly processes are an attractive method to form new and complex structures between macromolecular compounds to be used for specific applications. In this context, intramolecular and intermolecular bonds play a key role during self-assembling processes in preparation of carrier systems of bioactive substances. Polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) are formed through electrostatic interactions, and though they are significantly below of the covalent linkages in their strength, these complexes are sufficiently stable owing to the association processes. The relative ease way of PECs formation makes from them a versatile tool for preparation of various materials, with properties that can be tuned by adjusting several parameters, such as the chemical composition and structure of polyelectrolytes, pH and ionic strength of solutions, temperature and post-treatment procedures. For example, protein-polyelectrolyte complexes (PPCs) are playing an important role in various chemical and biological processes, such as protein separation, enzyme stabilization and polymer drug delivery systems. The present investigation is focused on evaluation of the PPC formation between a synthetic polypeptide (poly(aspartic acid) – PAS) and a natural protein (bovine serum albumin - BSA). The PPC obtained from PAS and BSA in different ratio was investigated by corroboration of various techniques of characterization as: spectroscopy, microscopy, thermo-gravimetric analysis, DLS and zeta potential determination, measurements which were performed in static and/or dynamic conditions. The static contact angle of the sample films was also determined in order to evaluate the changes brought upon surface free energy of the prepared PPCs in interdependence with the complexes composition. The evolution of hydrodynamic diameter and zeta potential of the PPC, recorded in situ, confirm changes of both co-partners conformation, a 1/1 ratio between protein and polyelectrolyte being benefit for the preparation of a stable PPC. Also, the study evidenced the dependence of PPC formation on the temperature of preparation. Thus, at low temperatures the PPC is formed with compact structure, small dimension and hydrodynamic diameter, close to those of BSA. The behavior at thermal treatment of the prepared PPCs is in agreement with the composition of the complexes. From the contact angle determination results the increase of the PPC films cohesion, which is higher than that of BSA films. Also, a higher hydrophobicity corresponds to the new PPC films denoting a good adhesion of the red blood cells onto the surface of PSA/BSA interpenetrated systems. The SEM investigation evidenced as well the specific internal structure of PPC concretized in phases with different size and shape in interdependence with the interpolymer mixture composition.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, bovine serum albumin, polyelectrolyte – protein complex, poly(aspartic acid)

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7 Fabrication of Gold Nanoparticles Self-Assembled Functionalized Improved Graphene on Carbon Paste Electrode for Electrochemical Determination of Levodopa in the Presence of Ascorbic Acid

Authors: Mohammad Ali Karimi, Hossein Tavallali, Abdolhamid Hatefi-Mehrjardi


In this study, an electrochemical sensor based on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) functionalized improved graphene (AuNPs-IGE) was fabricated for selective determination of L-dopa in the presence of ascorbic acid by a novel self-assembly method. The AuNP IGE modified carbon paste electrode (AuNPs-IGE/CPE) utilized for investigation of the electrochemical behavior of L-dopa in phosphate buffer solution. Compared to bare CPE, AuNPs-IGE/CPE shows novel properties towards the electrochemical redox of levodopa (L-dopa) in phosphate buffer solution at pH 4.0. The oxidation potential of L-dopa shows a significant decrease at the AuNPs-IGE/CPE. The oxidation current of L-dopa is higher than that of the unmodified CPE. AuNPs-IG/CPE shows excellent electrocatalytic activity for the oxidation of ascorbic acid (AA). Using differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) method, the oxidation current is well linear with L-dopa concentration in the range of 0.4–50 µmol L-1, with a detection limit of about 1.41 nmol L-1 (S/N = 3). Therefore, it was applied to measure L-dopa from real samples that recoveries are 94.6-106.2%. The proposed electrode can also effectively avoid the interference of ascorbic acid, making the proposed sensor suitable for the accurate determination of L-dopa in both pharmaceutical preparations and human body fluids.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, gold nanoparticles, l-dopa, improved graphene

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6 Polymer Nanocarrier for Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapy

Authors: Vijayakameswara Rao Neralla, Jueun Jeon, Jae Hyung Park


To develop a potential nanocarrier for diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we prepared a hyaluronic acid (HA)-5β-cholanic acid (CA) conjugate with an acid-labile ketal linker. This conjugate could self-assemble in aqueous conditions to produce pH-responsive HA-CA nanoparticles as potential carriers of the anti-inflammatory drug methotrexate (MTX). MTX was rapidly released from nanoparticles under inflamed synovial tissue in RA. In vitro cytotoxicity data showed that pH-responsive HA-CA nanoparticles were non-toxic to RAW 264.7 cells. In vivo biodistribution results confirmed that, after their systemic administration, pH-responsive HA-CA nanoparticles selectively accumulated in the inflamed joints of collagen-induced arthritis mice. These results indicate that pH-responsive HA-CA nanoparticles represent a promising candidate as a drug carrier for RA therapy.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, Rheumatoid Arthritis, hyaluronic acid, nanocarrier, MTX

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5 3D Linear and Cyclic Homo-Peptide Crystals Forged by Supramolecular Swelling Self-Assembly

Authors: Wenliang Song, Yu Zhang, Hua Jin, Il Kim


The self-assembly of the polypeptide (PP) into well-defined structures at different length scales is both biomimetic relevant and fundamentally interesting. Although there are various reports of nanostructures fabricated by the self-assembly of various PPs, directed self-assembly of PP into three-dimensional (3D) hierarchical structure has proven to be difficult, despite their importance for biological applications. Herein, an efficient method has been developed through living polymerization of phenylalanine N-Carboxy anhydride (NCA) towards the linear and cyclic polyphenylalanine, and the new invented swelling methodology can form diverse hierarchical polypeptide crystals. The solvent-dependent self-assembly behaviors of these homopolymers were characterized by high-resolution imaging tools such as atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscope. The linear and cyclic polypeptide formed 3D nano hierarchical shapes, such as a sphere, cubic, stratiform and hexagonal star in different solvents. Notably, a crystalline packing model was proposed to explain the formation of 3D nanostructures based on the various diffraction patterns, looking forward to give an insight for their dissimilar shape inflection during the self-assembly process.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, polypeptide, bio-polymer, crystalline polymer

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4 Self-Assembling Layered Double Hydroxide Nanosheets on β-FeOOH Nanorods for Reducing Fire Hazards of Epoxy Resin

Authors: Wei Wang, Yuan Hu


Epoxy resins (EP), one of the most important thermosetting polymers, is widely applied in various fields due to its desirable properties, such as excellent electrical insulation, low shrinkage, outstanding mechanical stiffness, satisfactory adhesion and solvent resistance. However, like most of the polymeric materials, EP has the fatal drawbacks including inherent flammability and high yield of toxic smoke, which restricts its application in the fields requiring fire safety. So, it is still a challenge and an interesting subject to develop new flame retardants which can not only remarkably improve the flame retardancy, but also render modified resins low toxic gases generation. In recent work, polymer nanocomposites based on nanohybrids that contain two or more kinds of nanofillers have drawn intensive interest, which can realize performance enhancements. The realization of previous hybrids of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and molybdenum disulfide provides us a novel route to decorate layered double hydroxide (LDH) nanosheets on the surface of β-FeOOH nanorods; the deposited LDH nanosheets can fill the network and promote the work efficiency of β-FeOOH nanorods. Moreover, the synergistic effects between LDH and β-FeOOH can be anticipated to have potential applications in reducing fire hazards of EP composites for the combination of condense-phase and gas-phase mechanism. As reported, β-FeOOH nanorods can act as a core to prepare hybrid nanostructures combining with other nanoparticles through electrostatic attraction through layer-by-layer assembly technique. In this work, LDH nanosheets wrapped β-FeOOH nanorods (LDH-β-FeOOH) hybrids was synthesized by a facile method, with the purpose of combining the characteristics of one dimension (1D) and two dimension (2D), to improve the fire resistance of epoxy resin. The hybrids showed a well dispersion in EP matrix and had no obvious aggregation. Thermogravimetric analysis and cone calorimeter tests confirmed that LDH-β-FeOOH hybrids into EP matrix with a loading of 3% could obviously improve the fire safety of EP composites. The plausible flame retardancy mechanism was explored by thermogravimetric infrared (TG-IR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The reasons were concluded: condense-phase and gas-phase. Nanofillers were transferred to the surface of matrix during combustion, which could not only shield EP matrix from external radiation and heat feedback from the fire zone, but also efficiently retard transport of oxygen and flammable pyrolysis.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, epoxy, fire hazards, toxic gases

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3 Lanthanide-Mediated Aggregation of Glutathione-Capped Gold Nanoclusters Exhibiting Strong Luminescence and Fluorescence Turn-on for Sensing Alkaline Phosphatase

Authors: Jyun-Guo You, Wei-Lung Tseng


Herein, this study represents a synthetic route for producing highly luminescent AuNCs based on the integration of two concepts, including thiol-induced luminescence enhancement of ligand-insufficient GSH-AuNCs and Ce3+-induced aggregation of GSH-AuNCs. The synthesis of GSH-AuNCs was conducted by modifying the previously reported procedure. To produce more Au(I)-GSH complexes on the surface of ligand-insufficient GSH-AuNCs, the extra GSH is added to attach onto the AuNC surface. The formed ligand-sufficient GSH-AuNCs (LS-GSH-AuNCs) emit relatively strong luminescence. The luminescence of LS-GSH-AuNCs is further enhanced by the coordination of two carboxylic groups (pKa1 = 2 and pKa2 = 3.5) of GSH and lanthanide ions, which induce the self-assembly of LS-GSH-AuNCs. As a result, the quantum yield of the self-assembled LS-GSH-AuNCs (SA-AuNCs) was improved to be 13%. Interestingly, the SA-AuNCs were dissembled into LS-GSH-AuNCs in the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) because of the formation of the ATP- lanthanide ion complexes. Our assay was employed to detect alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity over the range of 0.1−10 U/mL with a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.03 U/mL.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, alkaline phosphatase, adenosine triphosphate, lanthanide ion

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2 Simple Fabrication of Au (111)-Like Electrode and Its Applications to Electrochemical Determination of Dopamine and Ascorbic Acid

Authors: Zahrah Thamer Althagafi, Mohamed I. Awad


A simple method for the fabrication of Au (111)-like electrode via controlled reductive desorption of a pre-adsorbed cysteine monolayer onto polycrystalline gold (poly-Au) electrode is introduced. Then, the voltammetric behaviour of dopamine (DA) and ascorbic acid (AA) on the thus modified electrode is investigated. Electrochemical characterization of the modified electrode is achieved using cyclic voltammetry and square wave voltammetry. For the binary mixture of DA and AA, the results showed that Au (111)-like electrode exhibits excellent electrocatalytic activity towards the oxidation of DA and AA. This allows highly selective and simultaneous determination of DA and AA. The effect of various experimental parameters on the voltammetric responses of DA and AA was investigated. The enrichment of the Au (111) facet of the poly-Au electrode is thought to be behind the electrocatalytic activity.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, Electrocatalysis, Dopamine, Electroanalysis, ascorbic acid, gold electrode, monolayers, cysteine

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1 Template-less Self-Assembled Morphologically Cubic BiFeO₃ for Improved Electrical Properties

Authors: Jenna Metera, Olivia Graeve


Ceramic capacitor technologies using lead based materials is being phased out for its environmental and handling hazards. Bismuth ferrite (BiFeO₃) is the next best replacement for those lead-based technologies. Unfortunately, the electrical properties in bismuth systems are not as robust as the lead alternatives. The improvement of electrical properties such as charge density, charge anisotropy, relative permittivity, and dielectric loss are the parameters that will make BiFeO₃ a competitive alternative to lead-based ceramic materials. In order to maximize the utility of these properties, we propose the ordering and an evaporation-induced self-assembly of a cubic morphology powder. Evaporation-induced self-assembly is a template-less, bottom-up, self-assembly option. The capillary forces move the particles closer together when the solvent evaporates, promoting organized agglomeration at the particle faces. The assembly of particles into organized structures can lead to enhanced properties compared to unorganized structures or single particles themselves. The interactions between the particles can be controlled based on the long-range order in the organized structure. The cubic particle morphology is produced through a hydrothermal synthesis with changes in the concentration of potassium hydroxide, which changes the morphology of the powder. Once the assembly materializes, the powder is fabricated into workable substrates for electrical testing after consolidation.

Keywords: Self-Assembly, Morphology, evaporation, lead-free

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