Expanding the Horizons of Nanotechnology: A Novel Nanomaterial Developed by Researchers Holds Immense Promise

by Henrik Andersen
Nanocapsule Technology

At the University of Missouri, a team of scientists has engineered a nanocapsule designed for precise delivery of substances, offering significant possibilities in the medical and scientific arenas. This breakthrough, drawing inspiration from the structure of gecko feet, marks a significant leap in the field of supramolecular chemistry. It holds the promise of revolutionizing the way nutrients and drugs are administered in biological systems. (Illustrative concept)

The University of Missouri’s innovative design of a nanomaterial could herald new applications in the realms of science and medicine.

In their latest research, the university’s scientists have introduced a prototype of a nanocapsule – a tiny container – capable of transporting specific materials to designated areas.

Although this study doesn’t encompass all potential applications, the innovation could be a game-changer in administering various substances, such as drugs and nutrients, in humans and plants. According to Gary Baker, an associate professor in the Chemistry Department and a co-author of the study, the innovation lies in the unique structure of this small-scale delivery system.

Distinctive Structure and Possible Uses

Baker explains, “We can consistently produce these nanocapsules in a uniform manner by connecting them with calcium metal ions, serving as the foundational elements. This method allows for the creation of multiple identical chambers capable of carrying diverse substances or payloads. We also have evidence that these substances can move from inside the nanocapsules to an external solution.”

Analogy with Natural Phenomena

Baker likens the assembly process of this novel device to the way geckos climb walls.

“The feet of geckos have tiny structures, which in turn have even smaller components, going down to nearly the nanoscale level,” says Baker. “These myriad substructures, when they interact with a surface, provide a gecko with stable traction. Similarly, our nanocapsules are held together by a series of weak chemical interactions that collectively create a strong force, guiding the assembly of the final structure.”

Progress in Supramolecular Chemistry

This research is a notable advancement in supramolecular chemistry, as highlighted by Jerry Atwood, a Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and a renowned expert in the field.

“Although we used fluorescent molecules as a reference, their size and function are analogous to those molecules one might use for targeted substance delivery,” Atwood remarks. “Thus, our success underscores its potential for future scientific and medical applications.”

The discovery was made by Kanishka Sikligar, a postdoctoral fellow at MU. Sikligar, who joined MU to work with Atwood, was astonished by the team’s finding.

“These nanocapsules are significantly larger than what has been achieved in this domain before,” Sikligar notes. “I am eager to see how this breakthrough furthers our understanding and knowledge in this field.”

Citation: “Nanocapsules of unprecedented internal volume seamed by calcium ions” by Kanishka Sikligar, Steven P. Kelley, Durgesh V. Wagle, Piyuni Ishtaweera, Gary A. Baker, and Jerry L. Atwood, 3 July 2023, Chemical Science.
DOI: 10.1039/D3SC01629C

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Nanocapsule Technology

What is the recent breakthrough in nanotechnology at the University of Missouri?

Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a nanocapsule that can deliver substances to targeted locations. This innovation, inspired by the structure of gecko feet, represents a significant advancement in supramolecular chemistry and has potential applications in medicine and science.

How does the new nanocapsule function?

The nanocapsule works by transporting specific materials or ‘payloads’ to targeted areas. This is achieved through a unique assembly process using calcium metal ions, which allows for the creation of multiple identical chambers within the capsule.

What are the potential applications of this nanocapsule technology?

The technology holds promise for revolutionizing the delivery of drugs, nutrients, and other chemicals in biological systems, including human and plant bodies. It could significantly improve how substances are administered for medical and scientific purposes.

How does the structure of gecko feet inspire this nanocapsule design?

The design of the nanocapsule is inspired by the micro and nanostructures found on the pads of gecko feet, which provide strong traction due to multiple weak chemical interactions. Similarly, the nanocapsule is held together by multiple weak interactions that collectively form a strong assembly.

What does this advancement mean for the field of supramolecular chemistry?

This development is a significant step forward in supramolecular chemistry, demonstrating the ability to create large, internal volumes in nanocapsules, which can be used for delivering substances to specific locations. It showcases the potential for novel applications in science and medicine.

More about Nanocapsule Technology

  • University of Missouri Research News
  • Nanocapsule Technology Overview
  • Supramolecular Chemistry Developments
  • Innovations in Targeted Drug Delivery Systems
  • Gecko Feet and Nanotechnology Inspiration

You may also like


Tim S. November 21, 2023 - 8:18 am

Did anyone else get lost in the technical jargon? could use a simpler explanation but sounds promising

Nancy K. November 21, 2023 - 9:58 am

is this safe though? I mean, injecting stuff into our bodies with nanotech, sounds a bit sci-fi and scary to me

Sara O'Conner November 21, 2023 - 12:02 pm

i’m not a scientist but the way they’re using gecko feet as inspiration? that’s just mind-blowing, nature is amazing

Mike Johnson November 21, 2023 - 12:03 pm

wow this is huge news, nanocapsules could realy change the game in medicine!

Raj Patel November 21, 2023 - 1:04 pm

impressive work by Univ of Missouri! shows how far we’ve come in nanotech, Can’t wait to see where this leads.


Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

SciTechPost is a web resource dedicated to providing up-to-date information on the fast-paced world of science and technology. Our mission is to make science and technology accessible to everyone through our platform, by bringing together experts, innovators, and academics to share their knowledge and experience.


Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

© 2023 SciTechPost