Oxford, UK - Nikalyte Ltd, a nanotechnology company developing equipment and applications for nanoparticle research, introduces the NL50, a first of its kind, benchtop vacuum nanoparticle system that generates ultra-pure and monodisperse nanoparticles in vacuum which are deposited straight onto the target substrate.  The NL50 circumvents many of the problems faced when using solution and powder-based nanoparticles.

Nikalyte have applied over 100 years of joint experience to produce a simple to use and compact benchtop system which can deposit nanoparticles in minutes onto any solid substrate. Simple recipes for most common materials enable researchers to deposit naked nanoparticles, such as Ag or Au onto their substrate, which are then ready to be directly functionalized with, for instance, the desired protein or antibody. The NL50 utilises a technique called terminated gas aggregation to generate nanoparticles in vacuum. This technique is well known to scientists working in surface science and physics but was previously only accessible using large complicated vacuum equipment that required a PhD in physics to operate. For the first time researchers in the life scientists can exploit the properties of vacuum deposited and non-agglomerated nanoparticles. To see a short demonstration video of the NL50, visit www.nikalyte.com.

Why use nanoparticles?

Nanoparticles offer enormous potential to overcome some of the common challenges in biosensors and biomaterials. The huge increase in surface area of a nanotextured surface compared to a 2D surface has been shown to boost the concentration of immobilized molecules and cells. In sensor applications this can result in improved performance, including lowering the limit of detection. Gold nanoparticles are a common choice due to their biocompatibility and unique optical properties, which make them ideal biomarkers and contrast agents for SERS, phototherapy, ultrasound and other bioimaging techniques. Nanoparticles can also increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments by targeting drug delivery to the site of the tumor.

Why chose the NL50?

Nanoparticles manufactured by chemical synthesis are already available by the gram, so why would you want to invest in equipment to deposit vacuum phase nanoparticles? Here’s why. Nanoparticles generated in the NL50 are ultra-pure and free of surfactants or ligands and are ready to be functionalized immediately after deposition, removing the need for lengthy and complex multistep chemical purification processes. The nanoparticles are also monodisperse therefore the problems associated with clumping are avoided. Real time control over the deposition density, ensures repeatable results in diverse applications, from monodisperse particles to 3D porous coatings. Switching nanomaterials is also quick and easy using this technique. Unlike chemical synthesis development, which can take months, target materials can be changed in minutes to deposit a wide range of common metals or alloys. Deposition directly onto the substrate means that waste is minimised because nanoparticles need only be prepared as they are required.

Nikalyte has recently joined the OBN and is excited about forging links with the UK life sciences companies to exploit the exciting possibilities of nanotechnology. Contact us at [email protected] to discuss your application.