CPHNANO is a new cooperation partner for CheckNano

CPHNANO is a new cooperation partner of CheckNano. The company in Lyngby develops new ways to execute simple laboratory experiments to make the measurements more efficient and reliable and at the same time affordable to people that did not have the facilities before. Emil Højlund-Nielsen was so kind as to answer a few questions to us, supplemented by some experimental details from Assoc. Prof. Jacek Fiutowski.

In what way do you collaborate with CheckNano?

In cphnano, we expand the functionality of existing laboratory equipment by nanotechnology and provide automatic data analysis in the cloud. Our applications fit very well with the aim of CheckNano, and together we will develop the system in the direction of nanotoxicology studies. For CheckNano, the nanoparticles’ size determination is crucial.  By adapting our nano cuvette technique that enables angle-resolved, light scattering, to the detection of silver nanoparticles and including spectral analysis we expect to be able to deliver a reliable test of nanoparticles size determination and for different solutions.

Jacek explains that both sides will set up identical spectrophotometers for cross-checking the nanoparticles’ detection in liquid samples which also includes samples from customer products, e.g. meat. We will compare the results with commercial instruments available at SDU (Dynamic Light Scattering, Helium Ion Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy).  CheckNano is responsible for the sample delivery and test on customer products and the comparison with different techniques.

Which of the project aims poses the most significant challenge from your point of view?

It seems possible to me to deliver a solution to the posed challenges, but the most challenging seems to be a solution that is scalable and low-cost.

What is the advantage of the new approach?

Our NanoCuvette™ S, standard spectrophotometers can be upgraded to be used for CheckNano. The methodology bases on well-known angle-resolved light scattering, which is complemented by automatic analysis with cloud storage space. By this, it is not necessary to install new software, and the whole system is relatively low-cost.

Fact box

Founded in 2015 as a spin-out from Prof. A. Kristensen’s group at DTU Nanotech, Copenhagen Nanosystems ApS (CPHNANO) is a Labtech company that develops cuvettes that expands the functionality of existing simple laboratory equipment via nanotechnology.

CPHNANO has customers in the global life sciences, advanced technologies and research industries, and provides laboratory analysis combined with automatic data analysis in the cloud – leading to faster and more reliable results without upfront investments.

The product, NanoCuvetteTM S (NCS), is the first to enable angle-resolved, light scattering, impurity QC and determination of, e.g. biological cell concentrations, particle size, and turbidity. CPHNANO includes advanced cloud-based software to collect and process the data efficiently and accurately.

Responsible Research and Innovation – a journey to co-creation
(Experiences from the GoNano winter school in February 2020)

Co-creation is a way to help innovations that society needs. It is foreseeable that coming EU funding programmes will focus more on this topic after having focused on company participation in the development process. Integrating stakeholders that matter in an innovation process, as well as the end-users or people benefitting from the innovation, bears a high potential for the innovation. As such, the citizens move in a prominent position, and future projects should be concerned about their needs and wishes. The benefit will be more society-oriented research that benefits the people and takes ethical aspects into account.
I attended a workshop on co-creation from an EU project called GoNano. The project deals with the evaluation of the citizens’ view on different aspects of nanotechnology, particularly regarding energy, health, and food. It turned out that people seem quite hesitating to accept modifications in the food sector but accept applications in the health sector. In stakeholder workshops, some aspects were discussed in more detail to transfer the findings to industry and governmental organizations. Here it seemed essential to focus on quite a narrow subject to be able to get the stakeholders on board.
During the workshop days, 35 participants out of 160 applicants went through a process of co-creation. In groups, their projects, mostly PhD projects related to nanotechnology, were analyzed and discussed from various aspects. They imagined possible products, determined stakeholders, and evaluated the impact on society and the chances for a product to enter the market successfully.
Most impressive were the different aspects in which you evaluated your project. Explaining the principle ideas to other non-specialists and getting different viewpoints added value to the projects and could influence further developments. I believe that such an approach results in more sustainable projects, and thus that it is beneficial to organize and attend such meetings from time to time. Apart from that, the stakeholders and society, in general, will as well benefit as they get to know more about ongoing science projects and can influence them.
If you’re interested in some more details, please get into contact with me.
You find essential finings of the GoNano project in their White Papers: http://gonano-project.eu/public-consultation-for-the-gonano-white-papers/
Katharina Rubahn

Networkday on Nanotoxicology

We had a great Network day with guest speakers Frank Kjeldsen from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SDU Odense and Yvonne Kohl from the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering in Sulzbach, Germany.

Basis for the meeting is the fact that a serious lack of information concerning the potential health risks of nano-sized materials leads to the need for new sensitive models and technologies to assess the risks of nanomaterial-cell interactions.  Frank Kjeldsen, SDU, gave us insights into the groups experiments with detection of silver nanoparticles in vitro and their observations on toxicity. He states that there are more than 3000 products on the market with nano inside (www.nanodb.dk/en) and that silver has a high share in these products. Applying mass spectrometry and proteomics they studied the effects of nanoparticles on proteins. An important result of these studies revealed that the exposure of cells to Cadmium and Silver nanoparticles causes more radicals than the sum of both. Additionally it is known that silver accumulates for  a long time in the body and the shape of the particles also matters in the uptake rate. So we need to be careful blending different kinds of nanoparticles in consumer products and do more investigations of this kind. 
At IBMT they study nanoparticles in the whole lifecycle from production to use and recycling. Yvonne Kohl introduced us to their experiments with a  transparent membrane with pores to simulate what happens in an organ. The method is in-vivo like and does not involve animal testing. In different scenarios starting with polystyrol particles they compare nano and micro size effects and also compare charging effects. They do SEM or TEM imaging on the chips where they grow the cells. Furthermore, she presented results of the H2020 project HISENTS “High level Integrated Sensor for Nanotoxicity Screening“ (GA no. 685817).
The day ended with discussions and a lab tour for all participants.
During the day we recorded interviews and you can meet Frank Kjeldsen in the recorded film, that is available with  Danish and German subtitles on our HOME page.


Nano, what is that?

The exhibition ‘Nano, keine Kleinigkeit’ allows insights into the nanoworld for non specialists

At NanoSYD in Sønderborg we have various projects that deal with nanotechnology. It is an enabeling technology and our modern world relies in many ways on it and not only within chip-technology.
But what do laymen think about it? Do they have an understanding what it is about? Prof. Dr. Peter Heering, Europauniversität Flensburg, a collaboration partner, says “ In the society the dominating opinion is: Nano is dangerous”.
Here at TEK in Sønderborg we have a project that deals explicitly with the risks that go along with silver nanoparticles below approx. 50 nm as they enter cells and trigger cytotoxic processes that destroy the cells. This offers possibilities in e.g. medicine but also unwanted effects where silver nanoparticles are used as an antimicrobial protection for food. The project is called CheckNano (www.checknano.eu) and is supported by Interreg Deutschland-Danmark. It aims to develop a fast test for toxic nanoparticles.
The exhibition draws the attention to both aspects of nanotechnology, the possibilities that go along with it as well as the risks and CheckNano is also part of it. In 10 stations and many exhibits visitors will be able to explore effects of the nanoworld with hands on experiments and get a better understanding what it is about.
The exhibition is a joint effort of Europauniversität Flensburg, SDU Sønderborg and the science center Phänomenta in Flensburg. There is the chance to visit it until November 30 in Flensburg. It is planned to continue at Universe in Nordborg next year.