Luminescent nanoparticles as trackers for imaging of flows and sensing phenomena in microchannels

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Chemical Engineering

Abstract

Fluorescence imaging has become an increasingly appealing technique for detection because it is highly sensitive as well as non-invasive and non-destructive, providing good temporal resolution for detection of fast events. One of the challenges in optical imaging is to increase spatial resolution; this would require decrease in probe size combined with the ability to detect the individual fluorescent probes. In this proposal, through an interdisciplinary approach, we aim to develop novel Luminescent Nanosized tracking probes (LNt), study the images of these single particles in static and flow conditions and use the LNt for resolving velocity and concentration profiles in micron sized channels (the latter using sensing at the nanoparticle level). The LNt will be prepared by the attachment of lanthanide and ruthenium luminescent complexes on gold and platinum nanoparticles. These particles will luminesce in the visible and near infra-red providing different colours for detection and their images will be obtained together with spectral information of each nanoparticle, which will allow colour recognition. We will apply the LNt to investigate flow and reactive systems with micron sized features. These studies will provide a breakthrough in the analysis of miniaturized chemical and biological systems because they will enable simultaneous velocity and concentration measurements with very high spatial resolution that will allow submicron scale phenomena to be resolved The luminescent properties of LNt are defined by the photophysical properties of the molecular label the particles are coated with. The lanthanide light emission is far from the light excitation wavelength, which avoids any interference of scattering light. Emission in infra red is also possible which is transparent to skin and for blood flow this is an advantage as several blood pigments absorb the visible radiation emitted from common lumophores. The nanoparticles developed will be used to investigate the complex sub-micron scale flows that can appear due to Marangoni phenomena during CO2 absorption in amine solutions in micro-chemical units. The feasibility of using the LNt to monitor blood flows will also be evaluated. LNt can be tailored-made for sensing different molecules, which gives them a built-in ability to sense specific chemical species and be uniquely used for both concentration and velocity measurements. Apart from lanthanides we will also be using ruthenium bipyridyl luminescent complexes which are attractive because their luminescence is sensitive to the presence of oxygen and oxygen concentration. Velocity and concentration profile measurements will be demonstrated for microprocesses using lanthanide and ruthenium LNt that can sense small molecules (aromatic acids) and oxygen respectively. The proof of principle of the application of LNt for flow velocity and concentration measurements had been demonstrated in a recently completed Discipline Hopping project between Chemistry and Chemical Engineering awarded to the two Principal Investigators.
 
Description Luminescent nano particle trackers were developed together with laser based optical techniques to monitor flow phenomena in small channels.
The results made possible investigations of complex two-phase flows in small channels that have since been used for many processes. Examples include intensified separations of metals using ionic liquids as alternatives to green solvents and flows with non-Newtonian fluids which find applications ion recovery and production of food and consumer goods.
Exploitation Route Both the luminescent nanoparticles and the optical experimental methodologies developed can be used to investigate two-phase systems.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemical-engineering/thames-advanced-multiphase-systems
 
Description Demonstrations to school children of micro channel flows. Talks to school children demonstrating the results of the research and the industrial applications. The emphasis was on the importance of the research for the development of intensified and sustainable processes.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Chemicals,Energy,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Complex ORAL health products (CORAL): Characterisation, modelling and manufacturing challenges
Amount £1,945,935 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N024915/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 08/2020
 
Description EPSRC Programme grant MEMPHIS
Amount £1,082,478 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K003976/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2012 
End 09/2017
 
Description Fellowship
Amount £48,531 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 09/2012
 
Description Integrated Experimental And Computational Fluid Dynamic Studies For Advanced Process Development Of Complex Oral Health Products
Amount £21,498 (GBP)
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 09/2014 
End 09/2017
 
Description Mixing in complex oral health products
Amount £33,000 (GBP)
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 09/2016 
End 08/2019
 
Description IProPBio 
Organisation Federal University of Paraná
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise on intensified processes and particularly on liquid-liquid reactions and separations. Access to equipment for intensified processes.
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge of thermodynamics, phase equilibrium measurements and thermodynamic modeling. Also process synthesis and optimization for the design of biorefineries
Impact This is an international collaboration with partners from Europe, US and Brazil. The consortium has formed to apply for funding for the design, optimization and operation of sustainable biorefineries for multi product portfolios.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IProPBio 
Organisation University of Patras
Department Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics
Country Greece 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise on intensified processes and particularly on liquid-liquid reactions and separations. Access to equipment for intensified processes.
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge of thermodynamics, phase equilibrium measurements and thermodynamic modeling. Also process synthesis and optimization for the design of biorefineries
Impact This is an international collaboration with partners from Europe, US and Brazil. The consortium has formed to apply for funding for the design, optimization and operation of sustainable biorefineries for multi product portfolios.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IProPBio 
Organisation University of Southern Denmark
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise on intensified processes and particularly on liquid-liquid reactions and separations. Access to equipment for intensified processes.
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge of thermodynamics, phase equilibrium measurements and thermodynamic modeling. Also process synthesis and optimization for the design of biorefineries
Impact This is an international collaboration with partners from Europe, US and Brazil. The consortium has formed to apply for funding for the design, optimization and operation of sustainable biorefineries for multi product portfolios.
Start Year 2017