Facilities & Equipment

Laboratory Facilities and Instrumentation

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our research and instrumentation, our group has access to laboratory space in the Biomedical Sciences building, the Chemical Engineering building, and the new Physics building. These laboratories are described below, followed by a brief description of some of our major instrumentation.

Nanoparticle Synthesis and Modification Laboratory: This 535 sq ft laboratory is located in the Chemical Engineering Building. It is outfitted with two chemical hoods, gas lines (nitrogen, air, vacuum), organic and inorganic synthesis equipment and glassware, two chillers, shakers, a Millipore Synergy water purifier, analytical balances, refrigerated preparative centrifuge, pH and conductivity meters, ultrasonic liquid processor, ultrasonic baths, heated plates, glassware and vacuum ovens, syringe pumps, mass flow controllers, 4°C refrigerator, -20°C freezer, -20° Flammables freezer, flammable storage cabinets, and a Buchi R-215 rotavapor system with automated control of chiller and vacuum pump.

Nano-Bio Interface and Nanoparticle Characterization Laboratory: This laboratory occupies a total of 800 sq ft of assigned space in the Biomedical Sciences Building. It is outfitted with analytical balances, a chemical hood, organic and inorganic synthesis equipment and glassware, chillers, shakers, a Millipore Synergy water purifier, analytical balances, a refrigerated preparative centrifuge, microcentrifuge, pH and conductivity meters, ultrasonic baths, shakers, heated plates, heated dry baths, heated baths, 4°C refrigerator, -20°C freezer, a LabConco freeze dryer and shell freezer system, a Buchi rotary evaporator, a Brookhaven Instruments ZetaPALS/BI-90Plus dynamic light scattering instrument, NanoSight LM10HSBT14 Nanoparticle Characterization System with CMOS camera and temperature controlled sample holder, DynoMag AC Susceptometer, a Shimadzu UV-2600 UV-Vis spectrophotometer, a lab-built magnetic particle susceptometer/relaxometer, oscilloscopes, signal generators, magnetic field probes, power amplifiers, and an induction heating system consisting of a Ambrell EASYHEAT 8310LI 10 kW induction heater, NeOptix Reflex 4-channel fiber optic thermometer with immersion probes, and FLIR SC325 thermal camera. As part of this space there is a separate tissue culture room with inverted tissue culture microscope, two incubators, and a biosafety cabinet.

Magnetic Characterization Laboratory: This laboratory is in the new Physics building and houses a Quantum Design SQUID-MPMS3 magnetometer with AC susceptibility and ultra-low field accessories. This facility takes advantage of the Physics Building’s helium recovery and re-liquefaction system.

In addition to the instrumentation available in our laboratories, the University of Florida provides a stimulating environment with various core instrumentation facilities that include practically everything needed to conduct our research. Some of the most relevant facilities to our research are the shared instrumentation at the Biomedical Sciences building, the Center for Macromolecular Science and Engineering, the Research Service Centers at the Wertheim College of Engineering, the Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Facility (part of the US National High Magnetic Field Laboratory), and the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, which includes electron microscopy facilities ideal for soft and biological samples.

The intellectual environment at the University of Florida is rich with other externally funded investigators carrying out research in the areas of biomaterials, gene therapy and nanotechnology. Proximity to the UF Medical School, Shands Cancer Center, and VA Hospital facilitates interactions with clinicians and medical scientists. These facilities collectively provide a scientific environment that is strongly supportive of the research projects carried out by students in the group.

Major Instrumentation in the Rinaldi Laboratory:

Controlled Thermal Decomposition Synthesis Setup. We have assembled a suite of instruments and components to enable controlled inorganic nanoparticle synthesis. This includes pressure/vacuum control (500-760 Torr), temperature control up to 370°C, controlled addition of carrier and reactive gases using digital mass flow controllers, controlled addition of liquid precursors using syringe pumps, and the necessary glassware and components to enable addition or reactants and removal of sample aliquots under controlled conditions. Reaction temperature and pressure, and precursor addition rates are controlled and recorded through a computer interface.

Quantum Design SQUID-MPMS3 Magnetometer. This is a next generation SQUID-based magnetometer by Quantum Design. It is an extremely sensitive (~10-8 emu) magnetometer capable of measuring sample magnetization up to 300 emu with controllable temperature range from 1.9 – 400 K. This fully programmable instrument is equipped with an AC susceptometer (±10 Oe applied field amplitude and 0.1 – 1,000 Hz applied field frequency range) and ultra-low field option. The instrument will be housed in the Physics building, benefitting from the Helium recovery and re-liquefaction facilities available there.

Brookhaven Instruments BI-90Plus/Zeta PALS Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and Zeta Potential Analyzer. This is a fixed-angle DLS instrument with integrated zeta-potential measurement capacity. Hydrodynamic radii as small as 4 nm can be determined, depending on sample preparation and scattering properties of the colloidal particles (our particles are solid ferrites, and hence very strong scatterers). This instrument can measure zeta potential in aqueous solutions with high ionic content and in organic solvents, making it suitable for nanoparticle characterization in these environments.

NanoSight Nanoparticle Characterization System. This is a particle tracking analysis instrument suitable for directly measuring hydrodynamic diameter of particles as small as 20 nm. Because size is measured by direct visualization of individual particles this technique is ideally suited for studying polydisperse and aggregated samples and serves to complement DLS measurements. The instrument has a CMOS high sensitivity camera and temperature controlled sample holder.

Acreo DynoMag AC Susceptometer. This is a portable AC susceptometer with frequency range from 1 Hz to 500 kHz with magnetic moment resolution of 10-11 Am2 (10-8) at 1 kHz. AC susceptibility measurements allow determination of magnetic nanoparticle relaxation mechanism and characteristic times. The wide frequency range of this instrument allows characterization under frequency conditions similar to those used in AMF experiments.

MPI Susceptometer/Relaxometer. This is a custom built instrument capable of applying alternating magnetic fields at selectable frequencies from 3 kHz to 29 kHz and amplitudes up to 50 mT, while also applying constant and ramped bias fields in the range of ±100 mT to a sample up to 200 μl. The sample magnetization is measured using a balanced gradiometer coil and a 10 MHz sampling rate data acquisition card and processed through in-house software to obtain derivative of the magnetization as a function of time, harmonic spectra, and point spread function information useful in characterizing the magnetic particle imaging properties of magnetic nanoparticles. This instrument was developed through NIH grant 1R21EB018453.

Induction Heating System. This is a combination of an induction heater high frequency magnetic field source (Ambrell EASYHEAT 8130LI 10 kW unit with custom coils), an incubator enclosure to maintain sample temperature and environmental CO2 and humidity mimicking an incubator, fiberoptic temperature probes (NeOptix Reflex), thermal imaging camera (FLIR SC325), and fiberoptic fluorescence probe (Ocean Optics USB4000) to monitor release of fluorophores under alternating magnetic fields. Depending on coil geometry magnetic fields of 300 kHz and up to 80 kA/m can be generated. We use this suite of instruments to carry out experiments in which nanoparticle/cells/animals are exposed to alternating magnetic fields. We are capable of monitoring temperature simultaneously during application of an AMF, an important feature for many of the proposed studies.

Anton Paar MCR301 Rheometer. This rheometer is capable of a variety of rheological tests in both oscillatory and rotational modes for testing viscoelastic properties of biomaterials. It is possible to control and measure temperature throughout the experiment. In addition, the modular format enables experimental customization.

Shimadzu UV2600 UV-Vis Spectrophotometer. Czerny-Turner double-beam, single monochromator spectrometer with photomultiplier tube, 190-900 nm spectral range, -8.5 to 8.5 Abs range with ±0.1 nm wavelength accuracy, ±0.0003 Abs/hr baseline stability, ±0.002 Abs photometric accuracy at 0.5 Abs. This highly sensitive spectrometer is ideally suited for quantifying iron content in samples using the o-phenanthroline spectrophotometric assay.

Buchi Rotavapor System. This rotary evaporator has fully integrated temperature/pressure controller, vacuum pump, and chiller, allowing for programmed runs and automated solvent recovery.