Electrochemical detection of tagged nanoparticles

Nanoparticles of titanium dioxide artwork

A new approach to the detection of tagged nanoparticles, proposed to be of use in sensing or biosensing applications. Oxford scientists have developed an electrochemical detection technique based on particle coulometry. The technology allows the nanoparticle label to be modified and also to be detected in suspension.

Labelled or tagged nanoparticles

There is great interest in metallic nanoparticles (NPs) due to their unique chemical and electronic properties arising from their large surface area to volume ratios and the separation of their electronic energy levels. Labelled or tagged NPs have become increasingly important in sensing and biosensing applications.

Other approaches to detecting tagged nanoparticles

A number of approaches have been used previously for the detection of tagged NPs. Surface-sensitive spectroscopy has been used to detect tagged silver or gold NPs. Similarly, fluorescent and colour-coded tags have also been used to enable rapid optical detection of target molecules. Other methods for detecting tagged NPs include ICP-MS and electrochemiluminescence. Where electrochemical methods have been used, the tagged NPs have been immobilised onto the electrode before the voltammetric or electrochemical measurement.

The Oxford invention

For tagged NPs to reach their full potential in sensing applications, it is necessary to improve on methods for their detection. Oxford scientists have successfully demonstrated the use of particle coulometry to monitor the collisions of tagged NPs with an electrode. The method allows modification of the label, and also allows detection and analysis of tagged NPs while they are in suspension. The Oxford method can be applied generally to identify tagged NPs when the labelling molecule is electroactive, and is expected to have wide application in analytical nanoscience.

Patent protection

The technology is the subject of a UK patent application. Companies interested in progressing the commercial opportunities are invited to contact Oxford University Innovation. Request more information if you would like to discuss this further.

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