News | Oct 19, 2017

In Vitro Nanoparticle Exposure System by Air Force Research Laboratory

The Air Force's testing device has multiple exposure chambers for testing nanotoxicity on organ-on-a-chip samples

News Article Image of In Vitro Nanoparticle Exposure System by Air Force Research Laboratory

An Air Force researcher uses the In Vitro Nanoparticle Exposure System. (Air Force)

A research team at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing in Ohio has invented a device that helps study nanotoxicity.

Why? Because nanoparticles are being used in a wide range of applications, and the Air Force’s research team believes it is critical to proactively investigate their toxicity.

But to conduct the nanotoxicity investigations, chemists and medical researchers need to test the toxicity of nanoparticles with in vitro studies on live cells.

Air Force researchers Saber Hussain, and Christin and James Grabinski, from the Biomolecular Interactions of Nanomaterials Group, invented such a device that is capable of precisely delivering a consistent nanomaterial dose to a biological surface.

The invention, called the In Vitro Nanoparticle Exposure System, has multiple exposure chambers that can hold porous membrane insert along with cell culture media.

Aerosolized and charged nanomaterials are drawn into the chambers and laid onto the media using electrostatic deposition.

Proof of concept example of the multi-well nanoparticle exposure chamber

And the device can be configured to closely simulate a natural environmental exposure or be used to precisely deposit nanoparticles onto nonbiological surfaces like a transmission electron microscopy grid.

Potential applications for the Air Force’s invention are academic or commercial research targeting nanomaterials especially for drug development, environmental health, and hospital air quality monitoring.

The Air Force filed for and received a patent in March 2017. TechLink is now marketing patent licenses to industry partners that would build and sell the device.

To learn more about licensing the In Vitro Nanoparticle Exposure System contact Quinton King, senior technology manager at TechLink.

Headshot Image of Quinton King, PhD, CLP

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