Fluorescent Labeling and Tracking of Nanoclay


Executive Summary


The most commonly used nanoclay is montmorillonite. There are potential environmental and health risks in exposure to these materials. One reason for the lack of understanding of the impact that these materials have on the environment and biological system lies in the shortcomings of the analytical tools that currently exist aimed at evaluating the transport and fate of the nanomaterials. Disadvantages of these methods are that they lack the ability to track single or clustered nanoclay particles and their positions, important information useful in determining exposure dose. What is needed is an improved method to track the transport of nanoclay particles from a nanocomposite.


Description of Technology


Michigan State University has developed a composition method for tracking the fate and transport of clay nanoparticles. Fluorophores are covalently conjugated to organically modified montmorillonite. The fluorescently labeled montmorillonite is used to prepare the polymer-clay nanocomposite by introducing it in a matrix and subsequently generating films. The migration of labeled-nanoclay from the nanocomposite is determined utilizing a confocal laser scanning microscopy. In addition confocal micrographs show where tagged nanonclay particles are incorporated into the plastic films.


Key Benefits

  • Lower detection limits
  • More efficient method for tracking nanoclay particles



  • Food packaging
  • Method to determine nanoparticle location in the environment
  • Useful for determining exposure dose of nanocomposites
  • Aid in determining environmental and health effects of nanoparticles


Patent Status: 


Patent Pending US 2014-0120627


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available


Inventors: Rafael Auras, Maria Rubino, Joseph Hotchkiss, K. Jayaraman, Yining Xia, Carlos Diaz


Tech ID: TEC2013-0025


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University