Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanopores That Can Recognize, Separate Proteins and Small Molecules Developed at UMass Amherst

Abstract:
Nanopores, holes less than one-thousand the width of a human hair, are capable of isolating strands of DNA or therapeutic drugs from a solution, based mostly on the size of the pores. Now, a chemist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has created nanopores that can recognize and interact with certain molecules, actively controlling their movement across synthetic membranes. Results were published online Feb. 3 in Nature Nanotechnology.

Nanopores That Can Recognize, Separate Proteins and Small Molecules Developed at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, MA | Posted on March 2nd, 2008

By lining their internal cavities with various polymers, S. "Thai" Thayumanavan and his students Elamprakash Savariar and K. Krishnamoorthy of the UMass Amherst department of chemistry have developed a method for creating nanopores that can separate small molecules and proteins based on size, charge and how strongly they are repelled by water. The method could be used in many applications including diagnostic medical tests, DNA sequencing and fuel-cell membranes.

"Modifying the internal cavities of nanopores with polymers allows them to interact with molecules moving through the pores. By using different polymers, we can control how the molecules will react with the nanopore and this allows us to identify them as they pass through," says Thayumanavan. "This process may be especially suitable for sensors, since the presence of a single molecule can produce changes in the electrical properties of the nanopore that we can detect and measure."

Thayumanavan views this process as a platform technology that could be used by researchers in many fields. "At UMass Amherst, we are researching the use of this method in sensors and separations, as well as addressing some fundamental questions about fuel-cell membranes as part of the Center for Fueling the Future funded by the National Science Foundation."

To create these functional nanopores, Thayumanavan immersed a membrane containing nanopores in a tin solution, causing tin ions with a positive charge to adhere to the inside of the pores. Filtering a negatively charged polymer solution through the membrane caused tin ions to attract molecules of the polymer like a magnet and hold them in place, where they can easily react with other molecules in the confined space of the nanopores.

This process has many advantages over current methods. "Using polymer molecules allows you to precisely control the size of the nanopores at the same time that you are altering them to perform specific functions," says Thayumanavan. "It can also be done quickly, usually in a few minutes. This method also results in a uniform layer inside the nanopore that behaves in a predictable way."

Testing performed by Thayumanavan showed that using different types of polymers could create nanopores of almost any size, which translates to efficient separation of molecules based on their size.

Nanopores lined with polymers were also able to separate molecules based on their charge. "We found that nanopores with negatively charged interiors would allow positively charged molecules to move through the membrane more quickly," says Thayumanavan. "Conversely, nanopores decorated with positively charged interiors would favor negatively charged molecules."

In additional experiments, Thayumanavan lined the nanopores with polymers that were hydrophobic, or strongly repelled by water, and found that they would allow other hydrophobic molecules to pass more easily through the membrane. A final test revealed that the membranes could be used to separate proteins based on electrical charge.

Future research will focus on using different polymers with different functional groups to find out how specific the process can be made. "This method is limited only by the ability of chemists to place chemically reactive functional groups in polymer chains," says Thayumanavan.

####

About University of Massachusetts Amherst
From polymer science to plant biology, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a world leader for vital research that advances knowledge, enhances opportunities and produces technological innovations that invigorate the economy and benefit society.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sankaran Thayumanavan
413/545-1313

Copyright © University of Massachusetts Amherst

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI) Volume 6, issue 2 coming out soon! December 5th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Sensors

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Tip-assisted chemistry enables chemical reactions at femtoliter scale November 16th, 2016

'Back to the Future' inspires solar nanotech-powered clothing November 15th, 2016

Discoveries

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses: Medicine diffusion capsule could locally treat multiple ailments and diseases over several weeks December 3rd, 2016

Announcements

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI) Volume 6, issue 2 coming out soon! December 5th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Energy

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Throwing new light on printed organic solar cells December 1st, 2016

Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells: Researchers combine quantum physics and photosynthesis to make discovery that could lead to highly efficient, green solar cells November 30th, 2016

Fuel Cells

Water vapor sets some oxides aflutter: Newly discovered phenomenon could affect materials in batteries and water-splitting devices October 3rd, 2016

Carbon-coated iron catalyst structure could lead to more-active fuel cells September 15th, 2016

Imperial College use Kleindiek micromanipulators in their research into electrochemical energy devices September 6th, 2016

Iowa State engineers treat printed graphene with lasers to enable paper electronics September 2nd, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Nanobiotix Provides Update on Global Development of Lead Product NBTXR3: Seven clinical trials across the world: More than 2/3 of STS patients recruited in the “act.in.sarc” Phase II/III trial: Phase I/II prostate cancer trial now recruiting in the U.S. November 28th, 2016

From champagne bubbles, dance parties and disease to new nanomaterials: Understanding nucleation of protein filaments might help with Alzheimer's Disease and type 2 Diabetes November 24th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project