Doped Nanocapsules for Spectrally Selective Uncaging

Principal Investigator: Daniel Chiu

Caged compounds are biologically active molecules rendered inactive by a link to a chemical group (the "cage") through a photolabile bond. They are useful in the study of the spatiotemporal dynamics of cellular systems. Currently used caged molecules can only be photoactivated in the UV region. This fact places severe constraints on their application to cellular system, because UV light is potentially damaging to cells and has low penetration depth through tissues.

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed nanocapsules as physical cages of biological stimuli. The shells of the nanocapsules are photosensitized with red absorbing chromophores. Therefore, photolysis can be achieved using a single nanosecond laser pulse in the far red, a wavelength region that has much less adverse effects on cellular systems and which offers deeper penetration through tissues.

The ability to uncage stimuli with high efficiency in the far red and near IR will open new venues for probing the complex organization of the biological cell.

For more info, contact: Ryan Buckmaster

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