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Indian scientists use nanotechnology for medicine production

Scientists at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) have developed a nanotechnology-based industry-friendly and low-cost method to produce the drug Rufinamide.

Rufinamide is used to treat seizure disorders, and presently, only a few companies manufacture it. The INST method is efficient, economical, and eco-friendly.

The scientists have explored a recyclable copper-oxide catalyst, which plays a crucial role in the reaction for the Rufinamide drug, a press release noted.

The existing technology to produce the drug has an inherent selectivity issue, which often leads to unwanted non-drug isomers. This necessitates the use of organic solvents, high temperatures, and the need to purify and separate the soluble catalyst, leading to high production costs.

In the new production method, the catalyst is so reactive that the reaction can be conducted efficiently under the aqueous condition and at room temperature.

Since the catalyst is coated with a slightly modified natural biopolymer, they are biocompatible and can be separated by filtration, the release explained.

The developed catalyst is not only useful for the Rufinamide drug synthesis but other organic transformation reactions. The catalyst can be commercialised for academic use and companies that deal with fine chemicals.

Having been well optimised under laboratory conditions, the catalytic process can be easily translated into the industrial process.

Furthermore, because the choice of metal and the polymers are inexpensive, the product of the present catalytic process can be maintained at low costs.

Earlier in April, researchers from INST developed computer-based designs of nanomaterials with superhigh piezoelectricity, which can be used in nano-electronics for ultrathin and next-generation nano-transistors.

Piezoelectricity is the generation of electricity in certain materials when under pressure. Its applications include lighters, pressure gauges, and sensors.

With the continued trend of miniaturising electronic devices, there is a growing demand for superfast ultrathin nanodevices and nano-transistors.

A press statement noted that the nanostructures could be essential in constructing these kinds of nanodevices. The carrier mobility of the designed nanomaterials has been found to exceed that for silicon and therefore, the ultrathin nanostructures thereby providing an insight into the building blocks in futuristic nano-electronics.

The computational materials can motivate experimentalists to fabricate nanodevices with the desired functionality. Transistors used in the motherboard of computers and laptops are getting smaller; piezoelectric nanomaterials may be utilised in these ultrathin, next-generation nano-transistors through a synergistic coupling between piezoelectricity and electronics.

Since 2012, when piezoelectricity in 2D materials was first predicted theoretically, there has been a surge in research interests in piezoelectricity in graphene-like 2D materials.

INST scientists demonstrated the induction of superhigh out-of-plane piezoelectricity via stacking one monolayer over the other in the 2D nanostructure.

The induction of this phenomenon is based on 2D van der Waals heterostructure (vdWH) comprising of 2D monolayers the vdWH is a new approach in materials design where different monolayers with complementary properties are combined to surmount their intrinsic limitations.

When two monolayers are stacked over one another to constitute a vdWH, various factors affect the electronic properties. The dipoles arising at the interface due to the large charge density difference between the two constituent monolayers extend out into the interlayer region, resulting in an ultrahigh value in out-of-plane piezoelectricity.

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