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Northwest Missouri State University


Faculty/Staff Spotlight

Feb. 2, 2012

Dr. Rafiq Islam receives patent for invention of household microwave-based nanoparticles synthesis

Dr. Rafiq Islam

Dr. Rafiq Islam

A biochemist at Northwest Missouri State University now owns a patent for his invention of a fast synthesis of silver nanoparticles and their uses in sugar detection and antimicrobial activity.

Dr. Rafiq Islam, professor and chair of the chemistry and physics department, received the patent last month, following a notice of its approval last August.

Using a household microwave, Islam developed a simple and inexpensive method for synthesis of silver nanoparticles within a short period of time. The energy needed to heat the synthesis reaction is minimized and organic reducing reagents are replaced with natural products such as glucose, fructose, lactose and other purified carbohydrates. The resulting nanoparticles are then purified from the remaining silver ion.

Islam said he hopes companies will be interested in his method and consider implementing it into further studies or commercial use. He also is incorporating his invention into teaching labs and his research.

“The method we developed is fast and energy efficient, takes only eight to 10 seconds of microwaving, is cheap since high fructose corn syrup can be used, and ‘green’ because  natural reductant rather than environmentally toxic chemicals are used,” Islam said.

Islam noted nanoparticles were introduced to consumer products in the 1990s, and since then hundreds of tons of nanoparticles are synthesized each year. Silver nanoparticles show the greatest microbial activities and are added to many consumer products as an anti-microbial agent, including many brands of odor-resistant socks and T-shirts as well as silver bar soap and sol gel for skin and body care.

Islam joined the Northwest faculty in 1997 and specializes in molecular and cellular biochemistry while playing an active role in developing the University’s nanoscale sciences program. In 2010, Islam was awarded a grant totaling $208,800 over three years to continue researching the regulation of the polycystic kidney disease gene. Additionally, he was recognized in 2011 by the Missouri Academy of Science with its Outstanding Scientist Achievement Award.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468