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Nanomaterials Synthesis
The synthesis of nanoparticles pervades other areas of activity in the NFP, as these nanoparticles are used drug delivery, sensing or nanocomposites.

Because of their potential applications, we have developed a strong interest in the preparation of porous and hybrid nanoparticles. We try to develop processes that enable us to control the processing and assembly of NPs in terms of size, shape, composition, morphology and collective properties. Because different types of nanoparticles require different strategies, we are developing synthesis processes in the three areas listed below:
• Synthesis of functionalizated Mesoporous nanoparticle and nanocomposites by using sol-gel processing.
• Solution-phase synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials:
o Preparation of monodispersed water-soluble magnetic nanoparticles, ferrites and hybrid epitaxial nanostructures by using non hydrolytic assisted high temperature decomposition reactions of metals acetylacetones with reducing chemical agents and/or surfactants

o Synthesis of biocompatible and hydrophilic noble metal nanoparticles (Au and Ag) by coprecipitation of sparingly soluble metal precursor from aqueous solutions.
o Microwave driven synthesis of monodispersed metallic and metal oxide nanoparticles.

o Hydrothermal/solvothermal synthesis of anisotropic and monodispersed magnetic nanoparticles and ferrites.

o Synthesis of bare magnetic metal oxide nanoparticles and monodispersed colloidal silica coated magnetic spheres by using microemulsion methods. 
• Gas-phase synthesis of inorganic nanoparticles.

o Laser driven gas-phase synthesis of magnetic and optical pure metal and metal oxide nanoparticles.


Nanoparticles for MRI imaging

In addition to the use of nanoparticles in other applications (sensing, nanocomposites, drug delivery), which are described elsewhere, some of the particles that we prepare have application in imaging diagnosis, mainly in enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and/or Optical Imaging. This involves meeting significant challenges which are mainly related to characteristics such as magnetic behaviour, stability in body fluids, circulation lifetime and biocompatibility. This in turn requires control on the synthesis, surface functionalization, and functionality of these nanoplatforms. Our activity in this field falls within the following areas:
  • Fabrication of custom-tailored superparamagnetic iron-based nanoparticles for their application as theranostic agents in the visualization of tumours by using contrast in vivo T2-Magnetic Resonance Imaging of malignant diseases, and the suppression of the cancer cells by using magnetic induced hyperthermia.
  • Development by laser induced chemical process of multifunctional targeted hybrid iron-gold based nanostructures for its application as multimodal contrast agent in the diagnosis of malignant diseases by combination of molecular imaging techniques, such as MRI, Optical Imaging, Photoacoustic Imaging and/or X-Ray Imaging.


Main collaborations:

- Prof. Ricardo Ibarra García, University of Zaragoza, Spain
- Dr. Jesús Martinez de la Fuente, University of Zaragoza, Spain.
- Dr. Clara Marquina García. Materials Science Institute of Aragon (CSIC). Spain
- Prof. Carles Arús Caralto, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Simó Schwartz Navarro. Hospital Vall d’Hebron. Barcelona. Spain.
- Prof. Pilar Marco Colas. Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (CSIC). Spain
- Prof. Mark T. Swihart. State University of New York at Buffalo. USA
Some recent related publications:
1.  “Highly magnetic silica-coated iron nanoparticles prepared by the arc-discharge method”, Fernández-Pacheco, R., Arruebo, M., Marquina, C., Arbiol, J., Ibarra, M.R., Santamaria, J., Nanotechnology 17, 1188-92, (2006).
2. “Synthesis and characterization of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles biofunctionalised with a monoclonal antibody anti-hCG”, Arruebo, M., et al., Adv. Funct. Mater., 17, 1473-79, (2007).
3.  “Preparation of magnetic nanoparticles encapsulated by an ultra-thin silica shell via transformation of Fe-MCM-41”, Arruebo, M., et al.   Chem. Mater., 20, 486-93, (2008).

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Nanoporous Films and Particles group
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