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Durham University

Department of Chemistry

Publication details for Dr Robert Pal

Liu, Dongdong, García-López, Víctor, Gunasekera, Richard S., Greer Nilewski, Lizanne, Alemany, Lawrence B., Aliyan, Amir, Jin, Tao, Wang, Gufeng, Tour, James M. & Pal, Robert (2019). Near Infrared Light Activates Molecular Nanomachines to Drill Into and Kill Cells. ACS Nano 13(6): 6813-6823.

Author(s) from Durham


Using two-photon excitation (2PE), molecular nanomachines (MNMs) are able to drill through cell membranes and kill the cells. This avoids the use of the more damaging ultraviolet (UV) light that has been used formerly to induce this nanomechanical cell-killing effect. Since 2PE is inherently confocal, enormous precision can be realized. The MNMs can be targeted to specific cell surfaces through peptide addends. Further, the efficacy was verified through controlled opening of synthetic bilayer vesicles using the 2PE excitation of MNM that had been trapped within the vesicles.