What's the Latest Development?

An Indiana-based technology startup is working to create new heads for computer hard drives that could improve their storage density and assist in the development of light-driven cancer therapies. The company is developing nanostructured compounds that can concentrate light through plasmonic effects. "In the realm of data storage, for example, plasmonic structures can create a much more tightly confined beam of light that can read and write much smaller magnetic or optical bits. In medicine, gold particles just tens of nanometers across could be used to damage tumors by concentrating the energy in infrared light."

What's the Big Idea?

Light-based cancer treatment is a budding technology that, given the ability to concentrate laser light beams onto specific tumor cells, overcomes many adverse effects that result from chemotherapy treatment. "Metal nanoparticles can be injected into the bloodstream so that they accumulate in tumors. When clinicians shine the right wavelength of light on these nanoparticles from outside the body, some plasmon oscillations heat them up and damage the tumor. It is possible to control how much the nanoparticles heat up by altering their shape." Nanospectra Biosciences of Houston, Texas, already has treatments based on gold-coated nanoparticles in early clinical trials.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at MIT Technology Review