Utah Center for Nanomaterials

The center studies materials with morphological features on the nanoscale, and especially those that have special properties stemming from their nanoscale dimensions. 

 Ostafin Proj3Perfluorocarbon nanoparticles
The goal of this project is to develop nanosized gas delivery nanoparticles for use as blood substitutes, tissue aerators, imaging and other applications. The scientific challenges include learning how to control the self assembly of multicomponent systems, and understanding the interface between particles and the surroundings.
Ostafin Proj4Intracellular pH detection
In this project we are developing new kinds of durable nanomaterials for the sensing of pH in living cells and tissues. There is a long history of using organic dyes for this purpose but they can photodegrade over time and their reaction products can produce free radical that affect the cells. QDs and other semiconductor materials are not naturally responsive and have toxicity issues
Ostafin Pproj1Detection of Reactive Oxygen Species in tissues
ROS detection in the blood may be an early warning marker for disease, but convenient methods for its detection are few. Most of the chemicals are affected by components in the blood and their optical signal is lost due to blood’s red color. By combining dyes so that they work synergistically in a cascade it may be possible to produce materials that do not require extensive blood processing for their signal to be observed
Ostafin Proj2Fluorescent Gold
Gold is a biocompatible substance that in nanoparticle form is capable of fluorescent emission. In this project we are developing red-emitting fluorescent gold nanoparticles that could be used as tracers in cells and live animals.
 Ostafin Proj5Nanoparticle-Supported Molecular Brush
The optical properties of nanoparticles can be affected by molecules that are located at the surface. In this project we are developing surface responsive nanoparticle surfaces in order to modulate the nanoparticle optical properties.
Ostafin Proj7Interference of Nanoparticles in Toxicity Assays
This project is a collaborative project trying to understand the role of nanoparticles on cell function, and how they interfere with biochemical assays.