BOW researchers develop a ‘plasmon-based nanoruler’ to assay the mechanical properties of EVs


The front cover of Nanoscale Horizons features a new assay developed by BOW researchers: A “plasmon-based nanoruler” to measure the mechanical properties of Extracellular Vesicles.

The CSGI and ISMN-CNR teams of BOW developed a conceptual and methodological advancement which allows accessing the stiffness of extracellular vesicles, or more generally of membrane-enveloped nanosized objects, such as viruses. The measurement of this nanoscale property was achieved using a probe of a similar length scale, that is 10-nm gold nanoparticles which behave. Leveraging the plasmonic properties of these sensitive and fast nanoprobes, they set-up a very simple approach, with a straightforward colorimetric readout, easily accessible with basic lab equipment and expertise.

Their discovery has been published and featured on the front cover of Nanoscale Horizons, which is a leading journal for the publication of urgent short reports of exceptionally high quality and innovative nanotechnology. These findings pave the way for a new field of investigation, where the stiffness of membranous nanoparticles can be related to biological properties, such as pharmacokinetics and cell internalization.

The “plasmon-based stiffness nanoruler” is a reproducible, sensitive, high-throughput, and readily accessible method, which makes it possible the measurement of tiny amounts of sample.

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This new research has been warmly welcomed by the colloids community and will be presented shortly at the international conferences of:

Oral contribution “Probing the mechanical properties of synthetic and biogenic nanosized lipid vesicles with a plasmon based nanoruler” by Debora Berti

Keynote contribution “Assessing the stiffness of synthetic and natural nanovesicles by a “plasmon-based nanoruler”” by Lucrezia Caselli

Poster contribution “The response of biogenic lipid vesicles to deformations: how pressure and membrane elasticity affect stiffness” by Andrea Ridolfi