RESEARCH

Our Vision
The ‘Nanotrio’ consists of diverse nanomaterials based on nanophotonics, nanoplasmonics and nanobiotechnology.
We are evaluating potential applications of the Nanotrio. We are focusing on studies of the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials, especially quantum dots (QDs), plasmonic nanoparticles (NPs), and on nanocomposites with tunable morphologies and sophisticated nanostructures. We have expertise in characterizations of ‘the small world’, i.e., the territory of nanomaterials. We perform characterizations by using absorption and emission spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, and zeta-potential analysis. We then predict the nature of the synthesized products and consider the future design of nanomaterials. We aim to investigate unique physical properties of nanomaterials and to achieve practical applications of the nanotrio in nano-therapy, nano-energy, nano-diagnostics and many other fields.
Nanophotonics
QDs can modulate the wavelength and intensity of emitted light, so they have possible application as switch probes for cellular and whole-body imaging, as optical modulators, and as light-emitting diodes. We synthesize various types of NPs, including core/shell QDs, nanorods, nanotetrapods and nanoporous materials. We have achieved photomodulation of QD conjugate by additional UV excitations that induce the electron transfers to QDs and quench their photoluminescence. We have also used inorganic capping-ligand QDs to sensitize solar cells.
Nanoplasmonics
SPR is a phenomenon in which free electrons collectively oscillate in resonance with external electromagnetic energy at the interface between metal NPs and surrounding dielectrics (Fig. 1). Metals can display Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) when their sizes are reduced to the nanoscale. The applications of noble metal NPs can be very diverse such as spectroscopic and imaging tools, because SPR properties can be tailored by choosing metals with appropriate dielectric properties, and by selecting the size, shape, local environment of nanoscale metallic structures. We proposed novel metal NP complexes that could be used for highly-efficient cancer therapy and for photoacoustic-guided drug delivery.
Nanobiotechnology
QDs present a possible new technology for in vivo bio-imaging and future medical imaging applications. QDs have proven potential as imaging contrast agents due to their bright luminescence, their resistance to photobleaching, and their tunable emission wavelengths. We developed NIR-II-emitting QD probes, and have achieved cancer diagnosis by using QD-Antibody conjugates. Also, we showed QDs in an amphiphilic polyethyleneimine derivative platform for cell labeling, targeting, gene delivery, and ratiometric oxygen sensing.