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Engineered Nanomaterials for Medical Applications

Choi Laboratory

A practical reason for the study of nanostructures is the ever present drive towards smaller sizes in the electronics industry. As features in electronic devices achieve dimensions smaller than de Bloglie wavelength, it is imperative to explore and understand physical properties, such as electrical transport, thermal conductivity, mechanical strength, magnetism, and light emission in this regime.
In particular, one-dimensional (1-D) nanomaterial, so called nanowire and nanotube materials have been one of the three types of attractive nanostructures (0-D, 1-D, and 2-D) due to one-dimensional quantum confinement which can lead to enhanced transporting signals along the wires and its structure is more compatible with device design in terms of unique geometry. That’s the reason why the nanowires have been used for building blocks for electronics, optics, and sensing technology including biomedical applications. For the biosensor applications, it enables us to detect signals with fast response time and high sensitivity.
Furthermore, nanowires also can be used as a mask patterns for pattern transfer such as etching processes, a mold for nano-imprinting, and a template material in self-assembly technology. As different materials in the forms of nanowires have variety of new properties, which can lead to opening up lots of new applications. One of the attractive metallic nanowires, Au nanowires have been used for detecting mercury in water, detecting biomolecules with appropriate functionalization, and they are proposed to be used for novel electrodes with significantly increased surface to volume ratio for bio-energy applications such as biofuel cells which can power the implantable medical devices.
Ever since the discovery of carbon nanotubes that they are unique nanostructures with remarkable electronic and mechanical properties, researchers have been exploring potentials for electronic and biomedical applications. Carbon nanotubes have been proven to be used in nanometer-scale transistors or to strengthen polymer materials as a component for composite materials. The recent expansion of chemical modification and biofunctionalization techniques also enable us to generate a new class of bioactive carbon nanotubes which can be conjugated with proteins and nucleic acids. The modification of a carbon nanotube on a molecular level using biological molecules is essentially an example of the nanofabrication process for bionanotechnology. The availability of these biomodified carbon nanotube aims for targeting and altering the cell behaviors at the subcellular molecular level and novel therapeutic applications.

Our scientific and engineering approach for variety of medical applications will be bringing our extensive expertise in two major areas of nanotechnologies such as materials and device fabrication which will be extended to reveal system-level bio-nanoplatform.