Department: NanoEngineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Joseph Wang
Award(s): Department Best Poster | Best Literature Review Award

Primary Student
Name: Daniel R Kagan
Email: dkagan@ucsd.edu
Phone: 908-419-6051
Grad Year: 2012

Catalytic manmade nanomotors possess many key features necessary to provide bioanalytical and automated applications on biological microchip devices. Past research has focused on the ability of nanomotors to provide selective pick-up and on-demand delivery of cargo in a PDMS channel. Here we expand the value of catalytic nanomotors into relevant biological applications such as DNA sensing, and drug delivery. It is currently understood that Au/Pt nanomotors are autonomously propelled by the electrocatalytic decomposition of a 5% H2O2 solution. Nanomotors (200 nm in diameter and 2 μm in length) are visualized using a optical microscope and video tracking software depict an average speed of 10μm/s. This study reveals a unique speed increase by the addition of silver ions. While most other metal ions resulted in a decrease in speed to near Brownian levels, Ag+ has shown a steady increase in speed over the micro-molar range (0.5- 100μM) to reach a peak speed of 52μm/s. This phenomenon has been further exploited by tagging detector probes with Ag nanoparticles when conducting simple sandwich assays. Predictably the addition of hydrogen peroxide onto the hybridized chip led to a Ag+ enriched fuel that was added to the nanomotors. This resulted in a cheap, fast, and sensitive, motion-based readout of the concentration-dependent DNA target present on the sandwich assay. Further studies, have used power-enhanced, catalytic nanomotors to pickup, transport and delivery of drug loaded PLGA and liposomal particles across a PDMS channel. This proof of concept study was aimed to advance the biological utility of such motors for the purpose of soon achieving in vivo applications.

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