Effect of Formulation Method, Lipid Composition, and PEGylation on Vesicle Lamellarity: A Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Study

Liposomes are vesicles comprising a lipid membrane and aqueous core, and have found myriad applications in the biomedical field as therapeutics and in diagnostic assays. Liposome design requires careful choice of lipid composition and formulation method in order to produce populations with a defined unilamellar membrane structure. This is crucial in the development of liposome […]

Spontaneous Formation of Cushioned Model Membranes Promoted by an Intrinsically Disordered Protein

Histatin 5 is an intrinsically disordered, multifunctional, cationic, saliva protein known to act as the first line of defense against oral candidiasis caused by Candida albicans and belongs to the family of antimicrobial peptides. The mechanism at the base of its antifungal activity is still partially unknown. For this reason, understanding the interaction between Histatin […]

Structure and composition of highly viscoelastic (α-CD)/anionic surfactant films investigated by neutron reflectivity

Understanding the surface rheological behavior of adsorbed films at the aqueous/air interface composed of sugars, surfactants, or complexes between them, is of great interest due to their relevance in different application areas ranging from food, medical diagnostics and oil recovery. Recently, we have found that α-cyclodextrin (α-CD)/anionic surfactant mixtures form films at the solution/air interface […]

Following protein dynamics in real time during crystallization

Diffraction from protein crystals remains the central pathway to high-quality protein structure determination, but a universal approach to crystallization has not been presented. This lack is linked to the underlying fundamental complexity of protein crystallization: proteins are nonspherical, flexible macromolecules with highly anisotropic interactions. Anisotropic sticky attraction can induce amorphous aggregation, and a better understanding […]

Local structure and vibrational dynamics of proton-conducting Ba2In2O5(H2O)x

Proton-conducting oxides are materials of huge interest for a variety of applications, such as electrolytes in membrane reactors or in proton-conducting fuel cells (PCFC) operating in the intermediate temperature range, T = 200 – 500°C. A limiting factor pertaining to the performance of present-day PCFC devices is a too low proton conductivity of the electrolyte […]

Producing matchout cholesterol for neutron scattering

The great advantage of using neutron scattering within the Life Sciences is not only the greater sensitivity towards hydrogen as compared to using X-rays as probe instead, but more importantly the ability to distinguish hydrogen from its heavier isotope deuterium.  This property enables highlighting different parts within a molecule or a molecular complex, and has […]

Understanding the structure of lipid sponge phase nanoparticle (L3-NPs) using small angle neutron scattering

Nonlamellar lipid liquid crystalline phases have many potential applications, such as for drug delivery, protein encapsulation or crystallization. Lipid liquid crystalline sponge phase (L3) has so far not been very much considered in these applications, in spite of apparent advantages in terms of its flexibility and capacity of forming large aqueous pores able to encapsulate […]

Tuning the alignment of nanocellulose using a magnetic field

Cellulose nanomaterials extracted from plants are very attractive due to their intrinsic optical and mechanical properties (e.g., high transparency, large elastic modulus, etc) and the potential novel applications that exploit these features. However, despite the extraordinary intrinsic properties of nanocelluloses at the nanoscopic level, the translation of the properties to the macroscopic level is not […]

GISANS revealed water influence on biobased thin films

Nanostructured porous thin films made from biocompatible cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) are widely used due to their attractive properties such as made from renewable resources, low density, lightweight, thermal stability, and excellent mechanical properties. These prerequisites make CNF a promising precursor for the design of bio composites and bio-inspired sensors. One crucial question is the relation […]

Polaris

The Polaris instrument at ISIS began operation as a high intensity, medium resolution powder diffractometer in the late 1980s. It quickly established a large and scientifically diverse research community, encompassing engineering, materials science, condensed matter physics, solid state chemistry and earth science. However, by the late 2000s many of the key components of the Polaris […]

Using inelastic neutron scattering to understand the local structure and vibrational dynamics in proton conducting oxides for sustainable energy technologies

Proton conducting oxides, and in particular acceptor doped BaZrO3, are materials of great interest because of their huge potential as electrolyte in several energy related technologies, such as hydrogen sensors, membrane reactors, steam electrolyzers, and intermediate-temperature (200 – 500 °C) solid oxide fuel cells. A key requirement for the electrolyte is a high proton conductivity […]

Interactions between Model Cell Membranes and the Neuroactive Drug Propofol

Many low molecular weight drugs, like classical surfactants, contain both hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups. However, due to their lower molecular weight and less distinct separation into hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions, the self-assembly of such drugs in aqueous solutions is less easy to describe in general terms. To gain more understanding of the interaction between such […]

How AstraZeneca can improve lipid nanoparticle formulations for gene delivery using neutron scattering

In recent year, new therapeutic modalities involving delivery of biological molecules such as RNA, peptides and oligonucleotides have shown promising results to treat diseases that are currently hard to tackle with standard small molecules approaches. As an example, last year Alnylam announced the first therapy using small interference RNA (siRNA) approved by the Federal Drug […]

Neutrons used to probe magnetism in three dimensional magnetic data storage elements

The transition from the current two-dimensional data storage and logic schemes to three-dimensional data structures could significantly improve the performance and capacity of electronic devices. Instead of simply storing and manipulating data in a two-dimensional array of elements, one can envisage stacking data bits on top of each other, thus greatly enhancing the data density. […]

Swelling of Thin Graphene Oxide Films Studied by in Situ Neutron Reflectivity

Multilayered Graphene Oxide (GO) materials such as membranes and thin films are known for their potential for selective ion permeation, nano-filtration, water desalination and gas barrier properties. Many recent studies have aimed at demonstration of selective permeation of certain ions and molecules through GO membranes. Membrane tests were demonstrated to be successful for relatively thin […]

Using neutron reflectivity to elucidate electro-responsiveness of interfacial layers of ionic liquids and their solutions

Ionic liquids (ILs) have been identified as promising replacements for conventional lubricants. Their ionic nature and wide electrochemical windows present a new horizon for electrical energy storage solutions and tribotronic lubrication, whereby the friction coefficient is controllable though use of an electric field. However, due to the high production costs the commercialisation of IL lubricants […]

Structure and Dynamics of Non-Lamellar Lipid Bilayers at Interfaces, Implication in Biomembrane Organisation and Drug Delivery Applications

Lipids are the main components of cellular membranes. The main building blocks of the membranes that surround cells are lipid mixtures that form lamellar phases. However, lipids have a rich phase behaviour ranging from micellar, hexagonal or cubic to lamellar and, further, to the reversed counterparts, which are also utilised in many biological systems. The […]

Seeing the lithium inside your phone – Neutron scattering to follow real-time processes in energy storage devices

Rapid growing demands on electric-power based automotive transportation, grid applications and electronic devices require development of sustainable rechargeable batteries. This also arises from an urgent need to decrease CO2 emissions and to implement renewable energies into society. Unfortunately, improvements to battery materials has been slow and discovery of new materials with improved properties even slower. […]

Neutron scattering aids in understanding atherosclerotic plaque build-up – a game of hide and seek

Experimental set-up

Why is it so that individuals with good cholesterol values develop cardiovascular disease, whilst other individuals with poor values remain healthy? Cholesterol and other fats are transported through the blood via specific transporters called lipoproteins. The most well-known are the so called “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Understanding these particles in structure and composition and the way they interact with artery wall is crucial in understanding this disease, the main killer of the West. Such knowledge would aid in improving diagnostic tools as well as in development of new drugs.

Neutrons to study the interplay between aquaporins and porous silica in water treatment

Professor Martin Andersson (Chalmers) — Today, water purification typically includes a size-exclusion based filter that is specialized in removing a certain number of common water pollutants. But these filters do not remove all the pollutants present in water. So why not develop a filter that produces clean water regardless of pollutant? Guess what – nature already did.