Nanoparticle Assembled Hollow Spheres

Tech ID: 10247 / UC Case 2002-069-0


Nanoparticles with very small diameters (<100 nm) can be produced from a variety of compositions, such as metals, metal oxides, metal non-oxides, and polymers. The physical, chemical, and electronic properties of nanoparticles differ from those of bulk materials and molecules, which makes them desirable for preparing macroscopic, functional materials and devices. Directed nanoparticle assembly requires highly specific interactions between nanoparticles and organic molecules to achieve controlled construction of the multidimensional nanostructures. Due to their encapsulation properties, hollow spheres provide an attractive structure for many applications. However, current preparation methods are labor-intensive and require multiple, sequential steps.



Scientists at the University of California have developed a novel approach in which nanoparticles can arrange to form hollow sphere and other complex microstructures using particular block copolypeptides as the structure-directing agent. This improved method eliminates hydrolysis and condensation reactions that occur when producing hollow spheres from tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) while focusing on the directed assembly properties of these block copolypeptides.



This new UC invention has several applications in "nanocapsule" technology, such as:


  • Drug delivery;
  • Chemical storage and contaminated waste removal;
  • Gene therapy;
  • catalysis;
  • cosmetics;
  • magnetic contrast agents (for use in magnetic resonance imaging) and magnetooptoelectronics.


The new UC technology provides the following benefits:


  • Simple and easy to prepare ("one-pot synthesis");
  • General method to produce organic-inorganic hybrid materials;
  • Achieves different structures of hybrid materials that have desirable encapsulation properties;
  • Organics from hybrid spheres can be removed easily to produce hollow spheres;
  • Operates at low temperatures.

Nanoparticle Self-Assembly of Hierarchically Ordered Microcapsule Structures "    R. K. Rana, V. S. Murthy, J. Yu, M. S. Wong,    Advanced Materials 2005

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 7,563,457 07/21/2009 2002-069


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  • Bartl, Michael H.
  • Birkedal, Henrik
  • Cha, Jennifer N.
  • Deming, Timothy J.
  • Stucky, Galen D.
  • Sumerel, Jan L.
  • Wong, Michael S.

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