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Nanocarbon Microcubes with Closeable Pores

—Potential Medical Applications for Cubes Capable of Permitting the Entry of Specific Particles into Their Pores, Such as Targeted Delivery and Controlled Release of Drugs—

National Institute for Materials Science

A NIMS research team succeeded in fabricating micro-sized cubes from nanocarbon with a pore in each face capable of being manipulated to open and close.

(“Intentional Closing/Opening of “Hole-in-Cube” Fullerene Crystals with Microscopic Recognition Properties”; Partha Bairi, Kosuke Minami, Jonathan P. Hill, Katsuhiko Ariga, and Lok Kumar Shrestha; ACS Nano, 2017, 11 (8), pp 7790–7796; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b01569)

Abstract

  1. A NIMS research team consisting of Postdoctoral Researcher Partha Bairi, Postdoctoral Researcher Kosuke Minami, Chief Researcher Jonathan Hill, Group Leader Katsuhiko Ariga and Senior Researcher Lok Shrestha (Supermolecules Group, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics) succeeded in fabricating micro-sized cubes from nanocarbon with a pore in each face capable of being manipulated to open and close. The cubes may be applicable in a variety of situations, including as a targeted delivery mechanism for micro-sized cells and drugs in the human body.
  2. The functions of materials are often attributed to their structures. A wide range of studies has been conducted to develop specific structures at the atomic and molecular levels and techniques to manipulate them. As a result, many reports on functional materials and nanosystems have been produced. However, it is more difficult to control and manipulate micro-sized structures than atomic and molecular-sized (nanosized) structures due to the vastly greater number of atoms and molecules that need to be controlled.
  3. The research team recently succeeded in fabricating micro-sized cubes using a carbon material, C70 fullerenes, with a pore in each face (Fig. 1a). The team created a pore structure approximately 1 μm deep in every face of the cubes using a dynamic LLIP method—a modified LLIP (liquid–liquid interfacial precipitation) method—to control the structure of various fullerene crystals. They then demonstrated that the opening and closing of the pores can be controlled easily (Fig. 1b, c).
  4. The research team then introduced two types of similarly-sized particles (resin- and carbon-based particles) to the cubes we fabricated. They found that the cubes were capable of responding to the chemical properties of the two particles and allowed many carbon-based particles to enter their pores while preventing all but one resin-based particle from entering.
  5. The pore structures of the cubes created during this research are capable of responding to the chemical properties of different microparticles and can be easily manipulated to open and close. This technology is potentially applicable in a range of fields, such as medicine and environmental protection. For example, the cubes could be used as carriers for the targeted delivery of drugs and materials with biological functions in the human body, as mechanisms for the controlled release of drugs within biological systems by leveraging the opening and closing capabilities of the pore structures and in environmental purification by trapping selected pollutants in the cubes.
  6. This study was published in the online edition of an international scientific journal, ACS Nano, on July 25, 2017.

"Figure: Electron microscope images of fullerene C70 microcubes. (a) Cubes fabricated, (b) a cube with its pores closed and (c) a cube with its pores reopened." Image

Figure: Electron microscope images of fullerene C70 microcubes. (a) Cubes fabricated, (b) a cube with its pores closed and (c) a cube with its pores reopened.




Contacts

(Regarding this research)
Katsuhiko Ariga
MANA Principal Investigator, Group Leader, Supermolecules Group, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA)
National Institute for Materials Science(NIMS)
Tel: +81-29-860-4597
E-Mail: ARIGA.Katsuhiko=nims.go.jp
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Lok Kumar Shrestha
Senior Researcher, Supermolecules Group, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA)
National Institute for Materials Science(NIMS)
Tel: +81-29-860-4809
E-Mail: SHRESTHA.Lokkumar=nims.go.jp
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Kosuke Minami
NIMS Postdoctor Researcher, Supermolecules Group, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA)
National Institute for Materials Science(NIMS)
Tel: +81-29-860-3354
E-Mail: MINAMI.Kosuke=nims.go.jp
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National Institute for Materials Science
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