Researchers from the University of California, San Diego have released a study that outlines their newly developed technology that utilizes an osciallating electric field to isolate and remove nanoparticles that specialize in drug delivery from the blood stream, according to a press release. The technology poses the potential to be used in medical, industrial and environmental applications in order to separate nanoparticles not only from blood but other complex fluids as well.

"This is the first example of isolating a wide range of nanoparticles out of plasma with a minimum amount of manipulation," said Stuart Ibsen, lead author of the study. "We've designed a very versatile technique that can be used to recover nanoparticles in a lot of different processes."

Given their minute size, typically one thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair, nanoparticles are difficult to isolate from blood plasma, and current methods of isolation are not only difficult to apply to certain nanoparticle types, but they also can alter their behavior.

The technology outlined in the study takes advantage of a chip that can work effectively in the high-salt concentration in blood plasma, allowing it to gather nanoparticles from the plasma by applying an oscillating electric field to pull them out and leave the plasma behind due to differences in attractive force.

"We were interested in a fast and easy way to take these nanoparticles out of plasma so we could find out what's going on at their surfaces and redesign them to work more effectively in blood," said Michael Heller, senior author of the study.

Using this new technology, researchers will be able to get a better grasp of how nanoparticles are being affected while they are in patients' bloodstreams; this is especially useful for those who utilize drug-delivery nanoparticles in the process of disease therapies.