Supramolecular Functionalisation of B/N Co-Doped Carbon Nano-Onions for Novel Nanocarrier Systems


Boron/nitrogen co-doped carbon nano-onions (BN-CNOs) are spherical nanoparticles that consist of multiple inter-nestled fullerene layers, giving them an onion-like internal structure. They have potential as nanocarriers due to their small size, aqueous dispersibility, and biocompatibility. The non-covalent attachment of a biocompatible polymer to BN-CNOs is a simple and effective method of creating a scaffold for a novel nanocarrier system as it allows for increased aqueous dispersibility whilst preventing the immune system from recognising the particle as a foreign object. The non-covalent approach also preserves the electronic and structural properties of the BN-CNOs. In this study, we attached a hyaluronic acid-phospholipid (HA-DMPE) conjugate polymer to the BN-CNO’s surface to improve its hydrophilicity and provide targetability toward HA-receptor overexpressing cancer cells. To this end, various ratios of HA-DMPE to BN-CNOs were investigated. The resulting supramolecular systems were characterised via UV-Vis absorption and FTIR spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, and zeta potential techniques. It was found that the HA-DMPE conjugate polymer was permanently wrapped around the BN-CNO nanoparticle surface. Moreover, the resulting BN-CNO/HA-DMPE supramolecular systems displayed enhanced aqueous solubility compared to unfunctionalised BN-CNOs, with excellent long-term stability observed in aqueous dispersions.

Publication Type
Hugh Mohan
Hugh Mohan
PhD Student

Funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) - Project ID GOIPG/2021/210

Silvia Giordani
Silvia Giordani
Full Professor Chair of Nanomaterials, Head of School of Chemical Sciences

My research interests are in the design, synthesis, and characterization of hybrid smart nanomaterials for biomedical, energy and environmental applications