Nano-Architectures for Health and Catalysis


The object of this research is the development of innovative Nano-architectures for medicine and catalysis. One of the major concerns regarding the clinical translation of metal nanoparticles is related to the question of persistence in organisms. The dilemma in the choice of particle size needed for clinical applications versus efficient body clearance has created a serious conflict in nanotechnology. In order to overcome these issues, our approach is aimed in designing inorganic disassembling Nano-architectures for cancer theranostics. The functionalizable hollow Nano capsules we introduced can maintain the intriguing features of metal nanostructures and are biodegraded in cellular environment to their components. Thanks to this approach, the issue of accumulation is potentially overcome due to the renal clearance of the building blocks. The possibility to modify the composition and the internal/external functionalization of the Nano capsules make them promising Nano tools for therapeutic and imaging applications, among which drug delivery, chemo/radio-therapy, photoacoustic and magnetic resonance.

Metal nanostructures have also demonstrated a wide range of applicability in catalysis, but the need of a surface coating reduces their efficiency. In order to fully exploit their potential, we designed and developed “naked” metal nanoparticles hold in and protected by permeable silica Nano capsules. Our efforts are in particular focused on air-pollutant removal (VOCs and NOx) and hydrogen storage.

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