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Improved nanoparticles for diagnosis and traceability uses

Scientists at the CSIC and at the Universidad de Vigo have developed nanoparticles able to identify almost any substance or molecule, such as drugs, pathogens, pollutants or cells. The particles could be also used as markers to track objects or molecules, to ‘follow’ and detect them through different detection techniques.


Microscopic image of the nanoparticles. Picture: CSIC.Detection through nanoparticles is a growing technology. Spanish scientists at the CSIC’s Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano and at the University of Vigo, have developed a new type of nanoparticles, which is now through the patent process, that highly its standard analytical capacity.

The way nanoparticles work is quite simple: on their surface are placed different molecules able to identify and attach themselves to the substances sought. It is through these molecules that nanoparticles can capture the substances.

Afterwards, it’s possible to detect the tandem nanoparticle-substance using different techniques, such as spectroscopy. Thereby allowing the identification of the substances within samples.

>With this new technology, scientists have designed a new nanoparticle whose structure allows its union with almost any compound: molecule, virus or microorganism which implies that applications have virtually no limits.
Another advantage is that the technique is compatible with any other detection method, or a combination of them, to find out the tagged nanoparticles.

Furthermore, the special structure of these nanoparticles increases their detection capacity. In some applications, such as pathogens detection, it has been proved that these nanoparticles are up to 2.000 times more sensitive than conventional fluorescence spectroscopy.

Used as markers, the new nanoparticles could be used for the control of biotechnological applications or cellular systems, in the biotechnological development of the discovery of drugs. They could also be used  for traceability uses, such as for detecting documents, bank notes or whatever objects that have previously been in physical contact with these particles. 

The patent includes the process for preparing the nanoparticles as well as the way to be used. Industrial partners of markers or traceability sectors are being sought to collaborate through a patent license agreement.


Enrique Bustos
Gestor de Transferencia de Conocimiento
Instituto Química Física Rocasolano

Dpto. Comercialización
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