Warped Nanographene Reveals Potential in Fluorescent Cell Imaging


Photo by: 8x57is via Wikimedia Commons


A group of biologists and chemists from US’ Boston College and Japan’s Nagoya University have recently developed a water-soluble flexible warped nanographene that can be applied in fluorescent cell imaging.

The team shares in their study that they created a straightforward approach to make the nanographene water soluble. For their first step, they replaced five hydrogen atoms with the boron moieties. Then, an aryl halide compound is mixed with the substituted warped nanographene. 

The molecule itself causes cell death if exposed to a blue-colored laser light, they said. The team also claims that they will be conducting further investigations in order to determine how said nano-carbons can be potentially used for other biological applications, like cancer treatment therapy.

In 2013, Nagoya University’s Professor Kenichiro Itami, who is the director of Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules and Itami Molecular Nanocarbon Project, started working with his co-workers to synthesize the warped nanographene molecule. The result in their latest study showed the success of their procedure. He even said, “We were interested in making it available for biological applications.”

When the team also checked the fluorescent properties of the nanographene, they figured out that it fluoresces green if mixed with organic solvent dichloromethane under the UV light. Then, it fluoresces yellow if dissolved in water.

The outcome of their research demonstrates not just the use of nano-carbons in terms of biological applications, but also the synergy between biology and synthetic chemistry.