The growing demand for innovative means in biomedical, therapeutic and diagnostic sciences has led to the development of nanomedicine. In this context, naturally occurring tubular nanostructures composed of rolled sheets of alumino-silicates, known as halloysite nanotubes, have found wide application. Halloysite nanotubes indeed have surface properties that favor the selective loading of biomolecules. Here, we present the first, to our knowledge, structural study of DNA-decorated halloysite nanotubes, carried out with nanometric spatially-resolved infrared spectroscopy. Single nanotube absorption measurements indicate a partial covering of halloysite by DNA molecules, which show significant structural modifications taking place upon loading. The present study highlights the constraints for the use of nanostructured clays as DNA carriers and demonstrates the power of super-resolved infrared spectroscopy as an effective and versatile tool for the evaluation of immobilization processes in the context of drug delivery and gene transfer.
Infrared spectroscopy and spectromicroscopy have rapidly flourished using the advantages of InfraRed Synchrotron Radiation (IRSR), namely high brightness, broadband emission, linear and circular polarization and pulsed structure. InfraRed (IR) beamlines constructed at all synchrotron facilities provide a unique opportunity for a new class of experiments with significant multidisciplinary impact inaccessible to experimental equipment employing black body (globar) sources.