FePt magnetic nanoparticles : syntheses, functionalisation and characterisation for biomedical applications
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Iron platinum (FePt) has attracted growing interest because of its high Curie temperature, magneto-crystalline anisotropy and chemical stability. Nanoparticles (NPs) made of this alloy are promising candidates for a wide range of biomedical applications including magnetic separation, magnetic targeted drug delivery, hyperthermia for cancer therapy and also as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents. This thesis presents the synthesis, functionalization and characterization of FePt NPs along with a toxicity study and an investigation into their application as MRI contrast agents. Regarding their synthesis, different approaches have been explored including the co-reduction of Fe and Pt precursors in an aqueous media, the thermal decomposition in a conventional high-boiling solvent such as benzyl ether, and in low-melting organic salts (ionic liquids). The data revealed an inhomogeneous composition distribution of Fe and Pt between particles obtained in aqueous media, due to the iron salts hydrolysis, and a mismatch in the co-reduction kinetic of the two metal precursors. While the iron content in the NPs could be increased by using more hydrolytically stable iron precursors or stronger reducing agents, there are remaining limiting parameters which prevent further Fe content increase in NPs. In contrast, by excluding the water from the reaction system and using a Fe²⁻ iron precursor, homogenous 1:1 Fe to Pt ratio NPs can be obtained through a modified thermal decomposition pathway in benzyl ether. Based on the study of synthesis in this conventional chemical, the potential of ionic liquids (ILs) to be used as novel solvents for FePt NPs synthesis was further explored. It was then demonstrated that ionic liquids (ILs) can not only be used as a solvent for synthesis of FePt NPs, but also can provide an exciting alternative pathway to direct synthesis fct-FePt NPs. In the context of the bioapplication of FePt NPs, a family of FePt NPs was specifically designed to enhance their MRI contrast agents properties. In contrast with previous reports, this thesis demonstrates that FePt NPs can be made non-toxic and provides the first data on their cellular uptake mechanisms. A six times increase in the FePt based T₂ contrast properties compared to clinical iron oxide NPs is reported. The relationship between the MRI contrast properties and the NPs architecture is explored and rationalised as the basis for the design of NPs as enhanced MRI contrast agents. Finally, the first observations of cellular and in vivo MR imaging with FePt NPs is also reported. This study opens the way for several applications of FePt NPs such as regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy, thus providing a bio-platform to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic agents.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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