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The Institute for Nanoscale Technology division is to be formed within the chemistry department.  This is due to acquiring of the state of the art FT-IR with imaging capabilities within the department.  This division will represents the research arm of the department  The focus of the Center is to coordinate the research activities within the Department.  Broad research thrusts have been identified within the center, and they are:

  • Surface chemistry and solid state chemistry
  • Synthesis and Characterization.
  • Drug discovery
Analytical and Environmental Chemistry
  • Current projects and Recent Publications
  • People
  • Leading Staff – Prof.  N.M Agyei
  • Students
  • Current projects and Recent Publications
  • People
  • Leading Staff – Dr Muganza
  • Students
Physical Chemistry /Chemical Physics

Current projects

  • synthesis of ferric-gold core-shell nanoparticles to explore their optical properties.
  • synthesis of ferric-gold core-shell nanoparticles to which to  attach porphyrin used in the treatment of cancer

*.  Core-Shell nanoparticles

The emphasis is on the understanding the potential applications of core shell nanoparticles.  This project is about the synthesis and characterizations of magnetic nanoparticles with a magnetic core and a gold shell.  Magnetic nanoparticles have many technological applications, in particular they play an important role for data storage in modern information technology, and because of their potential magnetic carriers for various biomedical uses such as cell and DNA separation, drug delivery system (DDS), magnetic resonance contrast enhancement and gene cloning.  The project is also about the immobilization of bio-compatible and/or bio-sensitive materials on such nano-particles and the characterization of such immobilization. As a result of their potential for application in photodynamic therapy against cancer, applications in light harvesting devices and in electrochemical detection and quantitative analysis of a wide range of biological substrates.  The materials that have been identified for immobilization on these core-shell nanoparticles for this project are porphyrins and phthalocyanines. Immobilization of bio-materials such as specific antibodies and chemokine core-receptors and core-receptor ligands such as CCL3 may be explored in the future.   The immobilization of substrate specific ligands on the surface of nanoparticles can also be used for the detection of substrates in mixtures.  The immobilisation of antibodies on the surface of nanoparticles can be used for the detection of specific antigens .

*.  Applications of Core-Shell nanoparticles

How effective are thiolated side chain porphyrins in cancerous tumour imaging and photodynamic therapy when applied directly and when deposited and delivered on iron oxide-gold core-shell nanoparticles.

This is a study of the imaging of the cancerous tumours and photodynamic therapy (PDT) using novel thiolated side chain porphyrin based photosensitizing drug models.  The emphasis is on the understanding of the action of porphyrins and thiolated side chain porphirins  in cancer therapy.  The imaging and the PDT data using these porphyrins directly and the same porphyrins deposited on iron oxide-gold core-shell nanoparticles will be collected in vitro and in vivo.


Leading Staff

Dr M.A Debeila

Mr M.J Mofokeng

Mr Z Masilela


Baloyi A,     MSc Student

Area of Research: Preparation and characterization of porphyrin coated magnetic iron oxide-gold core-shell nanoparticles for application in medicine.

Zikhali ,  MSc student