Precise dendrimer nanostructures are available at low cost for commercial applications because of a breakthrough by a company at
Priostar dendrimers, created by Dendritic NanoTechnologies (DNT) at CMU’s Center for Applied Research and Technology, may be used as nanoscale building blocks in markets as diverse as food and agriculture, energy or manufacturing.
Dendrimers are sphere-shaped nanostructures that can be precisely engineered to carry molecules that are either encapsulated in the interior or attached to the surface. The size and shape of a dendrimer is determined by shells, called generations, which are grown around the core structure. The reactivity of the dendrimer is determined by its surface chemical functionality together with size and shape. Until dendrimers reach a certain generation, other functions cannot be added to them.
Priostar dendrimers radically change the economics of nanotechnology and have broad commercial applications. They share and improve the physical properties of the original PAMAM dendrimers that were invented about 25 years ago by DNT president and chief technology officer Donald Tomalia while he was at The Dow Chemical Company.
To create a PAMAM Generation 3 dendrimer, it took eight steps and one month of processing time. Priostar Generation 3 dendrimers can be created in three steps and a few days.
“Our new dendrimer process vastly reduces the amount of labour and reagents normally required by our PAMAM process,” said Tomalia. “An exciting new feature of the Priostar family of dendrimers is the ability to add extenders or functionality to the interior of the dendrimer to customise interior spaces and reactivity.”
The Priostar dendrimers may be engineered in more than 50,000 variations of size, composition, surface function and interior nanocontainer space, said DNT CEO Robert Berry.
“Our new Priostar dendrimers place DNT in the enviable position of controlling a dominant nanoscale platform with many applications in multiple billion-dollar markets,” said
Nanotechnology growth is expected to increase exponentially across manufactured goods in the next 10 years. In 2005 $13 billion worth of products will incorporate emerging nanotechnology, less than one percent of the global manufacturing output. That figure is expected to reach $2.6 trillion and 15 percent of manufacturing output in 2014.