Date of Award

Summer 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Micro and Nanoscale Systems

First Advisor

Yuri Lvov


Layer-by-layer (LbL) self-assembly has demonstrated broad perspectives for encapsulating, and the controllable delivery, of drugs. The nano-scale polymer layers have the capability of material protection. Magnetic nanoparticles have great potential to be applied with LbL technology to achieve both "focusing" of the encapsulated drugs to a specific location followed by "switching" them on to release the encapsulated drugs. In this work, Phor21-βCG(ala), dextran, and dexamethasone were used as model drugs. Encapsulation of these drugs with layer-by-layer self-assembly formed biolnano robotic capsules for controlled delivery and drug release.

Silica nanoparticles coated with polyelectrolyte layers of sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) or gelatin B, along with an oppositely charged peptide drug (Phor2l-βCG(ala)), were prepared using LbL self-assembly and confirmed using QCM and zeta potential measurements. The peptide drug was assembled as a component of the multilayer walls. The release kinetics of the embedded peptide were determined. Up to 18% of the embedded Phor21-βCG(ala) was released from the CMC multilayers over a period of 28 hours. The release was based on physiological conditions, and an external control mechanism using magnetic nanoparticles needed to be developed.

Magnetic permeability control experiments were setup by applying LbL self-assembly on MnCO3 micro-cores to fabricate polyelectrolyte microcapsules embedded with superparamagnetic gold coated cobalt (Co@Au) nanoparticles. An alternating magnetic field was applied to the microcapsules to check for changes in permeability. Permeability experiments were achieved by adding fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) labeled dextran to the microcapsule solution. Before an alternating magnetic field was applied, the capsules remained impermeable to the FITC-dextran; however, after an alternating magnetic field was applied for 30 minutes, approximately 99% of the capsules were filled with FITC-dextran, showing that the Co@Au embedded microcapsules were indeed "switched on" using an alternating magnetic field.

LbL assembly was then applied to encapsulate micronized dexamethasone with biocompatible polyelectrolytes such as protamine sulfate C, chondroitin sulfate sodium salt, and gelatin B, along with a layer of superparamagnetic nanoparticles. The biocompatible polymers were used to retain and protect the vulnerable drug. In vitro drug release kinetics were investigated according to different environmental factors such as temperature and pH. An external oscillating magnetic field was applied to "switch on" and accelerate the drug release. The results were compared to those without applying a magnetic field.

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