Prof. Gedanken's Lab
Head - Kanbar Laboratory for Nanomaterials
Materials Science Research
Prof. (Emeritus) Aharon Gedanken, of the Department of Chemistry, is a member of the Nano Materials Center at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), and a recipient of the President of Israel Achievement Award for coordination of a European Funded Research.
Gedanken is a pioneer of sonochemistry – a discipline in which chemical reactions are accelerated through the application of ultrasonic sound waves. His many discoveries include a process that removes heavy metals ions from polluted water using aquatic plants and microwave radiation - a fast and low-cost method for producing purified water on the one hand, and metallic nanoparticles on the other hand.
Gedanken is an expert in the fabrication of nanostructures with special properties such as antibacterial, antiviral (i.e. Swine influenza), antifungal and antibiofilm. Among his discoveries is the fact that ultrasound radiation can coat a large variety of solid surfaces such as metals, ceramics, polymers, glass, textiles, and even paper, enabling him to impart a variety of properties to the solid.
Together with Prof. Shulamit Michaeli, Gedanken has also recently fabricated RNA-based nanoparticles that can “silence” specific genes and are kept stable at room temperature even after a week.
Drug Discovery, Design, and Delivery Research for Anti-Cancer Drugs
Gedanken uses sonochemistry to produce micro and nano-vehicles that deliver antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs in a rapid-release mode. These drugs are encapsulated in proteinaceous micro and nano spheres.
Prof. Aharon Gedanken and Prof. Yeshayahu Nitzan have demonstrated that nanoparticles can kill pathogenic bacteria on direct contact. Working together with Dr. Ehud Banin, Prof. Gedanken is also developing antibacterial and antibiofilm nanoparticles for coating the surface of catheters and other implanted medical devices.
Renewable Energy Research
Gedanken has developed a microwave-based process that transforms consumer cooking oils and burned oil from restaurants into biodiesel in 10 seconds for a stirred reaction, and in 40 seconds for an unstirred reaction. He has also developed a one-step process, using microalgae grown on seawater together with CO2 released from a power station, to convert all the lipids in the algae into biodiesel.
Gedanken is now applying for a patent for a novel fermentation process that converts glucose to bioethanol 2.5 times faster than the conventional fermentation process.