skip to main content

Title: Continuous growth phenomenon for direct synthesis of monodisperse water-soluble iron oxide nanoparticles with extraordinarily high relaxivity
The direct synthesis of highly water-soluble nanoparticles has attracted intensive interest, but systematic size control has not been reported. Here, we developed a general method for synthesizing monodisperse water-soluble iron oxide nanoparticles with nanometer-scale size increments from 4 nm to 13 nm in a single reaction. Precise size control was achieved by continuous growth in an amphiphilic solvent, diethylene glycol (DEG), where the growth step was separated from the nucleation step by sequential addition of a reactant. There was only one reactant in the synthesis and no need for additional capping agents and reducing agents. This study reveals the “living growth” character of iron oxide nanoparticles synthesised in an amphiphilic solvent. The synthetic method shows high reproducibility. The as-prepared iron oxide nanoparticles are extremely water soluble without any surface modification. Surprisingly, the synthesized 9 nm iron oxide nanoparticles exhibit extremely high transversal and longitudinal relaxivities of 425 mM −1 s −1 and 32 mM −1 s −1 respectively, which is among the highest transversal relaxivity in the literature for sub-10 nm spherical nanoparticles. This study will not only shed light on the continuous growth phenomenon of iron oxide nanoparticles in an amphiphilic solvent, but could also stimulate the synthesis and application of iron oxide nanoparticles. The continuous growth method could be further extended to other materials for the controlled synthesis of water-soluble nanoparticles.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Page Range / eLocation ID:
9272 to 9283
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Gd chelates have occupied most of the market of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents for decades. However, there have been some problems (nephrotoxicity, non‐specificity, and lowr1) that limit their applications. Herein, a wet‐chemical method is proposed for facile synthesis of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) stabilized exceedingly small gadolinium oxide nanoparticles (ES‐GON‐PAA) with an excellent water dispersibility and a size smaller than 2.0 nm, which is a powerfulT1‐weighted MRI contrast agent for diagnosis of diseases due to its remarkable relaxivities (r1= 70.2 ± 1.8 mM−1s−1, andr2/r1= 1.02 ± 0.03, at 1.5 T). Ther1is much higher and ther2/r1is lower than that of the commercial Gd chelates and reported gadolinium oxide nanoparticles (GONs). Further ES‐GON‐PAA is developed with conjugation of RGD2 (RGD dimer) (i.e., ES‐GON‐PAA@RGD2) forT1‐weighted MRI of tumors that overexpress RGD receptors (i.e., integrinαvβ3). The maximum signal enhancement (ΔSNR) forT1‐weighted MRI of tumors reaches up to 372 ± 56% at 2 h post‐injection of ES‐GON‐PAA@RGD2, which is much higher than commercial Gd‐chelates (<80%). Due to the high biocompatibility and high tumor accumulation, ES‐GON‐PAA@RGD2 with remarkable relaxivities is a promising and powerfulT1‐weighted MRI contrast agent.

    more » « less
  2. Metal-mediated cross-coupling reactions offer organic chemists a wide array of stereo- and chemically-selective reactions with broad applications in fine chemical and pharmaceutical synthesis.1 Current batch-based synthesis methods are beginning to be replaced with flow chemistry strategies to take advantage of the improved consistency and process control methods offered by continuous flow systems.2,3 Most cross-coupling chemistries still encounter several issues in flow using homogeneous catalysis, including expensive catalyst recovery and air sensitivity due to the chemical nature of the catalyst ligands.1 To mitigate some of these issues, a ligand-free heterogeneous catalysis reaction was developed using palladium (Pd) loaded into a polymeric network of a silicone elastomer, poly(hydromethylsiloxane) (PHMS), that is not air sensitive and can be used with mild reaction solvents (ethanol and water).4 In this work we present a novel method of producing soft catalytic microparticles using a multiphase flow-focusing microreactor and demonstrate their application for continuous Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reactions. The catalytic microparticles are produced in a coaxial glass capillary-based 3D flow-focusing microreactor. The microreactor consists of two precursors, a cross-linking catalyst in toluene and a mixture of the PHMS polymer and a divinyl cross-linker. The dispersed phase containing the polymer, cross-linker, and cross-linking catalyst is continuously mixed and then formed into microdroplets by the continuous phase of water and surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulfate) introduced in a counter-flow configuration. Elastomeric microdroplets with a diameter ranging between 50 to 300 micron are produced at 25 to 250 Hz with a size polydispersity less than 3% in single stream production. The physicochemical properties of the elastomeric microparticles such as particle swelling/softness can be tuned using the ratio of cross-linker to polymer as well as the ratio of polymer mixture to solvent during the particle formation. Swelling in toluene can be tuned up to 400% of the initial particle volume by reducing the concentration of cross-linker in the mixture and increasing the ratio of polymer to solvent during production.5 After the particles are produced and collected, they are transferred into toluene containing palladium acetate, allowing the particles to incorporate the palladium into the polymer network and then reduce the palladium to Pd0 with the Si-H functionality present on the PHMS backbones. After the reduction, the Pd-loaded particles can be washed and dried for storage or switched into an ethanol/water solution for loading into a micro-packed bed reactor (µ-PBR) for continuous organic synthesis. The in-situ reduction of Pd within the PHMS microparticles was confirmed using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and focused ion beam-SEM, and TEM techniques. In the next step, we used the developed µ-PBR to conduct continuous organic synthesis of 4-phenyltoluene by Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling of 4-iodotoluene and phenylboronic acid using potassium carbonate as the base. Catalyst leaching was determined to only occur at sub ppm concentrations even at high solvent flow rates after 24 h of continuous run using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The developed µ-PBR using the elastomeric microparticles is an important initial step towards the development of highly-efficient and green continuous manufacturing technologies in the pharma industry. In addition, the developed elastomeric microparticle synthesis technique can be utilized for the development of a library of other chemically cross-linkable polymer/cross-linker pairs for applications in organic synthesis, targeted drug delivery, cell encapsulation, or biomedical imaging. References 1. Ruiz-Castillo P, Buchwald SL. Applications of Palladium-Catalyzed C-N Cross-Coupling Reactions. Chem Rev. 2016;116(19):12564-12649. 2. Adamo A, Beingessner RL, Behnam M, et al. On-demand continuous-flow production of pharmaceuticals in a compact, reconfigurable system. Science. 2016;352(6281):61 LP-67. 3. Jensen KF. Flow Chemistry — Microreaction Technology Comes of Age. 2017;63(3). 4. Stibingerova I, Voltrova S, Kocova S, Lindale M, Srogl J. Modular Approach to Heterogenous Catalysis. Manipulation of Cross-Coupling Catalyst Activity. Org Lett. 2016;18(2):312-315. 5. Bennett JA, Kristof AJ, Vasudevan V, Genzer J, Srogl J, Abolhasani M. Microfluidic synthesis of elastomeric microparticles: A case study in catalysis of palladium-mediated cross-coupling. AIChE J. 2018;0(0):1-10. 
    more » « less
  3. Liposomes containing high-spin Fe(iii ) coordination complexes were prepared towards the production of T 1 MRI probes with improved relaxivity. The amphiphilic Fe( iii) complexes were anchored into the liposome with two alkyl chains to give a coordination sphere containing mixed amide and hydroxypropyl pendant groups. The encapsulated complex contains a macrocyclic ligand with three phosphonate pendants, [Fe(NOTP)] 3−, which was chosen for its good aqueous solubility. Four types of MRI probes were prepared including those with intraliposomal Fe(iii) complex (LipoA) alone, amphiphilic Fe(iii) complex (LipoB), both intraliposomal and amphiphilic complex (LipoC) or micelles formed with amphiphilic complex. Water proton relaxivities r 1 and r 2 were measured and compared to a small molecule macrocyclic Fe(iii) complex containing similar donor groups. Micelles of the amphiphilic Fe( iii) complex had proton relaxivity values ( r 1 = 2.6 mM−1 s −1 ) that were four times higher than the small hydrophilic analog. Liposomes with amphiphilic Fe(iii) complex (LipoB) have a per iron relaxivity of 2.6 mM −1 s −1 at pH 7.2, 34 °C at 1.4 T whereas liposomes containing both amphiphilic and intraliposomal Fe(iii) complexes (lipoC) have r 1 of 0.58 mM −1 s −1 on a per iron basis consistent with quenching of the interior Fe(iii) complex relaxivity. Liposomes containing only encapsulated [Fe(NOTP)]3− have a lowered r 1 of 0.65 mM−1s −1 per iron complex. Studies show that the biodistribution and clearance of the different types liposomal nanoparticles differ greatly. LipoB is a blood pool agent with a long circulation time whereas lipoC is cleared more rapidly through both renal and hepatobiliary pathways. These clearance differences are consistent with lower stability of LipoC compared to LipoB. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    This paper describes a simple and robust method for the continuous production of water‐soluble nanocrystals using anti‐solvent precipitation under diffusion control in a fluidic device. We use sodium chloride (NaCl) as an example to demonstrate the concept. In a typical process, aqueous NaCl and ethanol (the anti‐solvent) serve as the focused and focusing phases, respectively, for the generation of a coaxial‐flow system. Upon contact with each other, the rapid diffusion between water and ethanol leads to the formation of NaCl nanocrystals at the interface while a gradient in NaCl concentration is created along the flow direction. The nucleation and growth of NaCl nanocrystals can be readily tuned by varying the hydrodynamic parameters such as the ratio between the flow rates of the two phases and the total volumetric rate. By optimizing these parameters, we are able to produce NaCl nanocubes and nanospheres as small as 20 nm and 6 nm, respectively, while attaining a narrow distribution in size. We have also successfully generated KCl nanocrystals with similar controls, demonstrating the generality of this method for the production of water‐soluble nanocrystals.

    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Performing reactions in the presence of self-assembled hierarchical structures of amphiphilic macromolecules can accelerate reactions while using water as the bulk solvent due to the hydrophobic effect. We leveraged non-covalent interactions to self-assemble filled-polymer micelle nanoreactors (NR) incorporating gold nanoparticle catalysts into various amphiphilic polymer nanostructures with comparable hydrodynamic nanoreactor size and gold concentration in the nanoreactor dispersion. We systematically studied the effect of the hydrophobic co-precipitant on self-assembly and catalytic performance. We observed that co-precipitants that interact with gold are beneficial for improving incorporation efficiency of the gold nanoparticles into the nanocomposite nanoreactor during self-assembly but decrease catalytic performance. Hierarchical assemblies with co-precipitants that leverage noncovalent interactions could enhance catalytic performance. For the co-precipitants that do not interact strongly with gold, the catalytic performance was strongly affected by the hydrophobic microenvironment of the co-precipitant. Specifically, the apparent reaction rate per surface area using castor oil (CO) was over 8-fold greater than polystyrene (750 g/mol, PS 750); the turnover frequency was higher than previously reported self-assembled polymer systems. The increase in apparent catalytic performance could be attributed to differences in reactant solubility rather than differences in mass transfer or intrinsic kinetics; higher reactant solubility enhances apparent reaction rates. Full conversion of 4-nitrophenol was achieved within three minutes for at least 10 sequential reactions demonstrating that the nanoreactors could be used for multiple reactions. 
    more » « less