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Carbon Nanotube-Based Chemical Sensors and Drug Delivery Systems
Prof. Alexander Star

Prof. Alexander Star

Department of Chemistry
University of Pittsburgh

Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and more recently graphene derivatives have attracted considerable interest for the development of chemical sensors. These carbon nanostructures are just one atom thick, and their electronic properties are extremely sensitive to adsorption of chemical species on their surface. When decorated with metal nanoparticles, metal organic frameworks (MOF) or antibodies, these nanostructures exhibit a large and selective electronic response toward many analytes with potential applications in medical diagnostics.1-3 Semiconducting SWCNTs have also excellent optical emission properties, which allow their use as in vivo fluorescence sensors. Jointly with Dr. Valerian E. Kagan, we investigated enzymatic oxidation and biodegradation of carbon nanomaterials using fluorescence spectroscopy.4,5  We also implemented enzymatically degradable carbon nanotubes as drug delivery systems with focus on the loading of these nanocontainers with therapeutic cargo and the targeted delivery for cancer therapy.
1. Hwang SI, et al. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) detection using semiconductor-enriched single-walled carbon nanotube chemiresistors. ACS Sens. 2019, 4, 2084–2093.
2. White DL, Day BA, Zeng Z, Schulte ZM, Borland NR, Rosi NL, Wilmer CE, Star A. Size Discrimination of Carbohydrates via Conductive Carbon Nanotube@Metal Organic Framework Composites. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 8022–8033.
2. Shao W, Shurin MR, Wheeler SE, He X, Star A. Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Antigens using High-Purity Semiconducting Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube-based Field-Effect Transistors. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 10321−10327.
3. Kagan VE, et al. Carbon nanotubes degraded by neutrophil myeloperoxidase induce less pulmonary inflammation. Nat. Nanotechnol. 2010, 5, 354–359.
4. He X, White DL, Kapralov AA, Kagan VE, Star A. Photoluminescence Response in Carbon Nanomaterials to Enzymatic Degradation. Anal. Chem. 2020, 92, 12880−12890.
5. Burkert SC, Shurin GV, White DL, He X, Kapralov AA, Kagan VE, Shurin MR, Star A. Targeting myeloid regulators by paclitaxel-loaded enzymatically degradable nanocups. Nanoscale 2018, 10, 17990–18000.
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