Monday, December 19

glowing nanodiamonds

Here's my latest little article, published in New Scientist:

Diamond-studded cells could shed light on immunity

Glowing nanodiamonds can reveal the inner workings of cells or track them as they move through the body.

Firing a high-energy electron beam through diamonds 100 nanometres wide produces permanent defects in their crystal structure that makes them glow under laser light. Huan-Cheng Chang and colleagues at Academia Sinica in Taiwan report in The Journal of the American Chemical Society that the diamonds can pump out light for hours after being hit with a laser, and are visible with a microscope (DOI: 10.1021/ja0567081).

This allows them to be attached to cells and traced as they move through the body. Preliminary safety tests on human liver cells suggest they are safe to consume. Attaching the nanodiamonds to immune cells could reveal how they gather at sites of infection.

Link to original article


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