Created by an accident at the Virginia Tech, these 80-carbon buckyballs (not your “regular” 60-carbon fullerene spheres) are being commercialized by Luna nanoWorks, a Virginia-based startup, as a more effective contrast agents for MRI .
Here’s the scoop from MiIT’s Tech Review:
… the 80-carbon buckyball is a much stronger cage for trapping gadolinium nitride “for the next generation of contrast agents where you want to target them to a particular organ or disease condition,” says Robert Lenk, Luna nanoWorks’ president. Indeed, Dorn and his colleagues at Virginia Tech have shown that the metal-nitride fullerenes show 40 times better contrast than contrast agents currently on the market, although the exact mechanism behind that is not yet understood. Before the material can be used for MRI, however, it would have to undergo a battery of safety and toxicity tests, and get Food and Drug Administration approval. The company plans to do this once the material has been fully developed.