Nanocavity sensor array for the isolation, detection and quantitation of engineered nanoparticles

EPA Grant Number: R834091
Title: Nanocavity sensor array for the isolation, detection and quantitation of engineered nanoparticles
Investigators: Sadik, Omowunmi , Wang, Howard
Current Investigators: Sadik, Omowunmi
Institution: The State University of New York at Binghamton
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: December 1, 2008 through November 30, 2011
Project Amount: $399,375
RFA: Greater Research Opportunities: Detection and Monitoring of Engineered Nanomaterials (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Safer Chemicals


The overall objective of this proposal is to develop nanocavity sensor arrays for the isolation, detection and quantitation of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) and distinguish these from naturally occurring nanomaterials in complex environmental matrices. The proposed monitoring system relies on the hypothesis that one could consider the cell (bacteria cells, viral particles, spores etc) to be either a particle or an analyte with unique shapes, sizes and morphology. Since engineered nanoparticles are also distinguished by their size, shape and morphologies, these properties could be utilized for monitoring the differences in their physicochemical characteristics, chemical and biological reactivity. Other important implication of the "cell as particles" concept requires that cell viability/integrity is taken into consideration, thus presenting an underlying differences for differentiation. Hence the specific goals are to design, optimize, fabricate and field-test arrays of nanocavity capillary substrates for monitoring engineered nanoparticles (e,g Au, Ag), and naturally-occurring cell particles.


Using arrays of glass capillaries, we will create a nanocavity sensor array system (NASS or NAZ) for the isolation, detection and quantitation of engineered and natural nanoparticles. The NAZ format takes advantage of SUNY-Binghamton’s integrated capillary waveguide biosensor device, namely Ultrasensitive Portable Capillary (U-PAC). We will demonstrate a high degree of detection sensitivity for nanoparticles by using a strong light confining nanocavity structure that enhances the effective extinction cross section of metal nanoparticles onto submicron size U-PAC waveguides. Functionalized capillaries will enable the recognition of synthetic nanomaterials and/or natural nanomaterials using absorption and fluorescence principles, and these signals will be imaged and recorded. NAZ isolation of ENPs is derived from an intricate pores or struts that are used for selective trapping or fixation of ENPs. Recognition of cells and spores will utilize antibody-coated capillaries. NAZ characterization will involve Small Angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), Field Emission Transmission Electron Micrograph (FESEM) and Optical Microscope (OM). Natural particles will be characterized using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique. Finally, we will field-test the NAZ system for the detection and monitoring of engineered nanoparticles vs. naturally-occurring ultrafine particles; and validate the sensor using aerosol mass spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy and EPA Methodologies. The use of arrays of glass capillaries in NAZ system serves multiple purposes: (i) it serves as the waveguide for detection, (ii) template for sensor surface (In this case, for immobilization of ENP or natural nanoparticles), (iii) microfluidic or sample holder, (iv) flow through cell as well as (v) for chemical or bioreactivity. The flexibility to provide all these on a single, portable device makes NAZ especially promising for field monitoring and detection of natural and ENPs.

Expected Results:

The proposed NAZ sensors will enable USEPA protect citizens from exposure to toxic nanoscale materials and inhalable nanoparticles in complex environmental samples, thus protecting human health and the environment. It will provide improved monitoring and detection capabilities for ENPs; and increase our ability to identify many emerging contaminants in the future. The short term benefits include: rapid, remote data generation regarding the type and quantity of emerging contaminants, in-situ discrimination between engineered vs. naturally-occurring particles at very low concentrations.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 50 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 15 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Nanotechnology, nanocavity array sensors, isolation, capillary waveguides, detection, imaging, emerging contaminants, risk assessment, remote, in-situ, National,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2009
  • 2010
  • Final Report