21 февраля 2020  |  
3:44 PM  September 25, 2019

TPU scientists developed sensors with "traps" for free radicals

© Валерий ДоронинTPU scientists developed sensors with traps for free radicals

TOMSK, Sep 25 – RIA Tomsk. Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)with colleagues from the Czech Republic and France created extremely sensitive sensors for free radicals that can disrupt cell function; the development can be used in medicine and food industry, the press service of the university said on Wednesday.

It is explained that free radicals – are active oxygen forms with oxidizing ability. The main one is the superoxide radical (O2•–): during chemical transformations, it passes into other compounds with strong oxidizing properties, after which it damages proteins, nucleic acids and lipids of cell membranes.

"Scientists have created extremely sensitive sensors for free oxygen-containing radicals. According to the researchers, these sensors – are an alternative to traditional analytical chemical methods of analysis. Under laboratory conditions they showed sensitivity four orders of magnitude higher", – is said in the report.

According to the press service, detecting free radicals in biological objects is important in medical research. This allows to timely detect incipient changes in organs, tissues and take action. It is also important for the food industry.

© РИА Томск. Таисия Воронцова
"In the Czech Republic we are negotiating with representatives of the food industry. After all, free radicals are markers that products, in particular meat, have deteriorated or are close to this. And we want to try to test our sensors on food products", – the engineer of the TPU Research School of Chemistry & Applied Biomedical Sciences Olga Guselnikova is quoted in the message.

Big step

"Classical methods of analytical chemistry allow us to detect radicals in concentrations up to 10-6, and in our case we proposed a minimum detectable concentration of 10-10. Accordingly, this is more sensitive by four orders of magnitude. By the standards of chemists – this is a big step", – explains Guselnikova.

The new sensors – are an example of a hybrid material that combines inorganic and organic elements. Their base - is a thin gold plate with a wavy surface. Researchers "planted" organic compounds on it, acting as traps for free radicals.

The wavy surface of the plate effectively excites the effect of surface plasmon resonance. It makes the sensors extremely sensitive due to the effect of giant combination scattering.

"In this case, the organic component – is a compound with the short name TEMPO. It is a simple and affordable model compound that is used in other methods, but it has never been combined with plasmon-active substrates. And this combination of plasmon effect and chemical characteristics of TEMPO gave us the needed effect", – explains the scientist.

In the future, researchers intend to use their sensors to detect nitrogen-containing and halogen-containing free radicals, as well as to conduct experiments closer to real biological objects.

The project is implemented by TPU scientists in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (Czech Republic) and Aix-Marseille University (France). This work was supported by grants from the Czech Science Foundation and the TPU Competitiveness Improvement Program. 

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Process functional diagram of the sensor

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