Kaboom! The Nano Bang Theory!
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"My research has focused on creating hydrogel particles that are about 100 nanometers to 1 micrometer in size as a gene delivery vehicle to get genes to the site of disease. Hydrogel particles are comprised of an interconnected polymer network allowing them to carry and release genes in a controlled manner. The size and shape of vehicles are thought to be important to control the properties and characteristics of gene translocation into cells, but it is not clear which specific aspects are most important in design. To answer this question, I created hydrogel particles of controlled size and shape by electron beam lithography and ultra-violet optical lithography. Lithography techniques used to fabricate microchips enable us to generate hydrogel particles of controlled size and shape at this incredibly small size for biomedical applications. I am investigating that the geometry of these particles may influence translocation to and treatment of disease tissues, particularly arthritis. The presented image is of one micron cubic hydrogel particles on a silicon wafer created using an ultra-violet ray with each dot being a particle. The image is captured from Olympus MX61 reflective inverted microscope in dark field mode at Argonne National Laboratory – Center for Nanoscale Materials. Acknowledgement: The author would like to thank Drs. Derrick C. Mancini and Ralu Divan of Argonne National Laboratory for their generous support on the research. Use of the Center for Nanoscale Materials was supported by the U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357."