Nanoscale Cage Structured Materials for Sensing, Catalysis and Photocatalysis

Researcher: Prof Uri Banin
Department: Faculty of Science, The Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
University: Hebrew University of Jerusalem


It is a known fact that hybrid nanoparticles, which combine two dissimilar materials on the same system show synergistic properties stemming from unusual material combinations. Cage structures have a high surface area and voids which make shem suitable for use in filtration media, catalysts and catalyst supports and gas storage materials. It is possible to obtain a range of novel materials by integrating these two powerful concepts, cages and hybrid nanoparticles to yield materials with unique properties.

This research will be of interest to those involved in cleantech, nanotechnology, materials, nano structures and nanomaterials, nanoprocesses, hybrid materials, photocatalysis and catalysis, bio-technology or nano-medicine and delivery systems.

The research is at the proof of concept stage and a PCT application has been filed.


The researchers have discovered a new family of materials comprising hybrid nanoparticles in previously unknown nano- inorganic cage structures with variable metal frames and cores that show novel chemical, optical and electronic properties.

Figure. Features of NICs (nano-inorganic caged particles): (a) TEM image of hybrid Ru-NICages (Ru- caged copper sulfide nanoparticles). (b) TEM image of empty Ru NICs.

Key Features

The key features of the hybrid nanoparticles are listed below:

  • They have the ability to sense hydrogen peroxide boosted 200-fold.
  • They can be used for sensing applications based on electrochemical devices.
  • Cage materials are beneficial in photocatalytic and catalytic applications.


Hybrid nanoparticles are used for the following applications:

  • Sensors for medical and environmental applications for instance, glucose sensing in diabetes diagnosis
  • Photocatalysts for using sunlight to make “green fuel”, possible building blocks for solar cells.

Current Status

The researchers are currently seeking funding and cooperation to increase the number of products and to investigate more potential applications.

About the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Since nanotechnology has gained considerable significance in modern science and technology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem established the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The Center operates within the Faculty of Science and strives to create the needed environment for the flow of expertise, knowledge and research between researchers from a range of disciplines that include physics, chemistry, applied and life sciences, medicine and engineering. It strives to bring together scientists from a number of disciplines that deal with nanotechnology. The center has around 40 member groups and desires to expand further by recruiting promising, young, faculty members.

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