Synchrotron soft X-ray microscopy and XRF to image Single-walled carbon nanotubes in epithelial cells

A. Gianoncelli, R. Delfino, S. Sala, G. Kourousias, S. Giordani, F. Romano, G. Ricci, L. Pascolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been promoted as nanodevices in the biomedicine areas of diagnosis and therapy. In terms of drug delivery, CNTs could be useful in the case of hydrophobic drugs and multiple co-deliveries of therapeutic and imaging molecules. Epithelial cells, being specialized in absorption and secretion, are the first barrier to overcome. At the same time, several frequent tumors are of epithelial origin (cervix, ovarian, liver). Synchrotron-based imaging and spectroscopic techniques are suitable tools to follow the fate of nanodrugs in epithelial cells. We present an example of multi-microscopy approach combining soft X-ray spectromicroscopy at the TwinMic beamline (Elettra Synchrotron, Trieste, Italy) with light and Scanning Electron (SEM) microscopies. In particular, we show that 2–4 h exposure to SWCNTs is not toxic (no viability changes) to a model of cervical epithelial cells, even though it causes temporary perturbation in the membrane and intracellular structures of exposed cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2020


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Cervical epithelium
  • Nanomedicine
  • STXM
  • XRF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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