Researchers Develop New Method for Making Inorganic Catalytic Nanoparticles
Chemical engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a method to synthesize inorganic nanoparticles using inhomogenous, or impure, biomaterials, a process that could decrease the cost of pharmaceutical production.
The new approach circumvents the need for expensive peptide purification from protein sources and thus challenges the conventional method for producing bio-templated nanoparticles. Used for making molecules for pharmaceuticals, the biological nanoparticles also have catalytic properties for potential use in the production of ammonia and other industrial chemicals.
"The major question we answered was the necessity of purity of peptides used for nanoparticle preparation," said Imann Mosleh, doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering. "Our results showed that the level of purity did not affect the nanoparticle growth."
Inspired by biological systems that order structures naturally, Mosleh fused a peptide called Pd4 to an active protein, Green Fluorescent Protein, to prepare palladium nanoparticles. Testing and subsequent characterization confirmed synthesis of a highly ordered material that could be used in lieu of an expensive pure peptide.
"We showed that the synthesized nanoparticles went through the same nucleation and growth pathway as pure peptide nanoparticles," Mosleh said.
The method developed by Mosleh could lead to the production of biologically inhomogenous and unpurified, protein-templated nanomaterials at two orders of magnitude less that the cost of convention methods.
Mosleh conducted the research as his dissertation project for a doctorate in chemical engineering. His advisor was Bob Beitle, professor of chemical engineering and associate vice chancellor for research and innovation. The study was published in Materials Letters as a "featured letter."
The exhibition "The House and the City: Two Collages" will be on display through Oct. 20 in the Fred and Mary Smith Exhibition Gallery in Vol Walker Hall. A reception will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 19.
Alex Booth, Terry Garrity, JoAnn Kvamme, Leonard Ridley and David Stowers were named the Employees of the 3rd Quarter for the 2019-20 academic year.
HillFest, an information fair for students to meet campus departments and registered student organizations, is happening today on the Arkansas Union Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The University Career Development Center, in collaboration with Walmart, will host Career Fest from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, in the Verizon Ballroom of the Arkansas Union.
Jack Freeland and Davis Campbell will talk about their research experiences at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, in Physics Building Room 133.