Nanotechnology Project

Get the findNano iPhone application


Environment, Health and Safety Research

Physicochemical Properties of Nanowires

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorRay LaPierre
InstitutionMcMaster University
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Characterization
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$86,883.00
Annual Funding$43,441.50
Funding SourceNSERC
Funding MechanismExtramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2005
Anticipated End Year2007


Current research in nanoparticles will provide revolutionary applications in science, engineering, and medicine such as ultrasensitive biosensors, composite materials, display technologies, and medical implants to name just a few. However, the interaction of nanoparticles with biological tissue is poorly understood at present. Our work will use semiconductor nanowires to provide fundamental knowledge in the interaction of nanoparticles with cellular tissue. Our semiconductor nanowires are produced by a process called the vapour-liquid-solid mechanism, which is capable of producing wire-like material with diameters as small as several nanometers and as long as tens of microns. These wires exhibit highly efficient light emission with polarization anisotropy which can be used to track their movement, position and rotation inside biological tissue. Furthermore, unlike other nanoparticles, the dimensions and compositions of our semiconductor wires can be widely varied which will provide new insight into the physicochemical properties of nanoparticles relevant to toxicology and biology, including the size-, shape- and composition-dependence of their interactions with cells.