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J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2007 Jul;7(7):2211-21.

Biofunctionalization and capping of template synthesized nanotubes.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-7200, USA.


Using alumina templates both nanotubes (open on both ends) and nano test tubes (open on only one end) have been synthesized from many different materials and these have great potential as delivery vehicles for biomedical applications. This review focuses on our recent results directed towards developing "smart" nanotubes for biomolecule delivery applications. While intensive efforts have focused on spherical nanoparticles that are easier to make, cylindrical particles or nanotubes offer many advantages. First, the tunable alumina template allows one to dictate both the pore diameter and length of the nanotube. In addition, template synthesized nanotubes can be differentially functionalized on their inner and outer surfaces. This review highlights these advantages in the contexts of drug extraction and antibody-antigen interactions, the synthesis of protein nanotubes, and recent advances in covalently capped ("corked") nanotubes designed to prevent premature payload leakage. Though diverse applications for nanotubes have already been discovered, many new and exciting paths await exploration.

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