Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Nano "Tractor Beam" Traps DNA: Researchers use beams of light to grab and hold molecules

DNA molecules in a nanoscale channel get trapped by light.
When DNA molecules suspended in a tiny stream of water flow through a nanoscale channel, they can be captured by a field of light if that light is confined in a device called a slot waveguide. The pressure from the light can then propel the DNA along the waveguide channel to bring the molecules to new locations. Such manipulation could prove valuable for assembling nanoscale structures, driving powerful sensors and developing a range of other technologies.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation
DNA molecules in a nanoscale channel get trapped by light.
When DNA molecules suspended in a tiny stream of water flow through a nanoscale channel, they can be captured by a field of light if that light is confined in a device called a slot waveguide. The pressure from the light can then propel the DNA along the waveguide channel to bring the molecules to new locations. Such manipulation could prove valuable for assembling nanoscale structures, driving powerful sensors and developing a range of other technologies.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation

Abstract:
Using a beam of light shunted through a tiny silicon channel, researchers have created a nanoscale trap that can stop free floating DNA molecules and nanoparticles in their tracks. By holding the nanoscale material steady while the fluid around it flows freely, the trap may allow researchers to boost the accuracy of biological sensors and create a range of new 'lab on a chip' diagnostic tools.

Nano "Tractor Beam" Traps DNA: Researchers use beams of light to grab and hold molecules

Arlington, VA | Posted on January 1st, 2009

The Cornell University research team reports its findings in the Jan. 1, 2009, issue of the journal Nature.

"For this research to emerge in the marketplace in a device such as a 'lab on a chip', it is essential for engineers to be able to manipulate matter at the scale of molecules and atoms, particularly while the matter is contained within a fluid stream only slightly larger than the particles themselves," says William Schultz, the National Science Foundation (NSF) program officer who oversaw the researchers' grant. "NSF and other funding agencies have made nano-science and -technology a high priority. The Cornell researchers have made an important step in realizing the full potential of these devices."

Light has been used to manipulate cells and even nanoscale objects before, but the new technique allows researchers to manipulate the particles more precisely and over longer distances.

"At the nanoscale, we can think of light like a series of massless particles called photons," says Cornell engineer David Erickson, one of the co-authors of the study. "We've demonstrated a way to condense these photons down to a very small area and stream them along a special type of waveguide, a device that acts like a nanoscale optical fiber. When pieces of matter, like DNA or nanoparticles, float near these streaming photons, they are sucked in and pushed along with the flow. The effect is sort of like moving a truck by throwing baseballs at it. The trick is that we found a way to have a large number of highly efficient "collisions" between the photons and the nanoparticles, getting them to stay in our device and keep them moving along it."

Erickson and fellow Cornell engineer Michal Lipson, along with their graduate students Allen Yang, Sean Moore and Bradley Schmidt, and colleagues in Erickson's and Lipson's research groups, crafted a wave guide to shunt light into a narrow beam, laying a trap for the DNA and other small pieces of material.

Each of the tiny channels within the waveguide is only 60-120 nanometers (billionths of a meter) wide, thinner than the 1,500 nanometer wavelength of the infrared laser light channeling through them. The channels keep the light waves focused and enhance their ability to interact with the DNA particles, preventing them from flowing by.

The breakthrough is the use of the slot waveguide, which condenses a light wave's energy to scales as small as the target molecules, overcoming prior limitations caused by light diffraction. Because the waveguide is also a "nanochannel" it can both trap and transport objects using light.

For their experiments, the researchers used water solutions containing either DNA or tiny nanoparticles, washing the fluids over the waveguide microchannels. At a speed of 80 micrometers per second, the system traps less than a fourth of the target particles flowing by, but with smaller channel sizes, slower flows and higher energy lasers, the success rate increases.

"What we're hoping to do now is better understand some of the underlying physics to see what else might be possible with this approach," adds Erickson. "Ultimately we imagine being able to take all the ultrafast and highly efficient optical devices that have been developed for communications and other applications over the last 20 years and apply them to the manipulation of matter in different types of nanosystems. Hopefully in the future we can shuttle around individual strands of DNA the same way we now shuttle around light."

In future iterations of the system, the light will both capture the particles and transport them, so the DNA would arrive at the trap and then be directed to another location, such as a sensor or a staging ground for the assembly of a structure.

####

About National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $6.06 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to over 1,900 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot
NSF
(703) 292-7730


Bill Steele
Cornell University
(607) 255-7164


Program Contacts
William Schultz
NSF
(703) 292-4418


Principal Investigators
David Erickson
Cornell University
(607) 255-4861

Copyright © National Science Foundation

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 Links

View a video of DNA molecules suspended in a stream of water flowing through a nanoscale channel.

The Erickson Laboratory

Related News Press

Videos/Movies

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

News and information

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Pioneering Southampton scientist awarded prestigious physics medal July 3rd, 2015

Molecular Machines

Injectable electronics: New system holds promise for basic neuroscience, treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases June 8th, 2015

One step closer to a single-molecule device: Columbia Engineering researchers first to create a single-molecule diode -- the ultimate in miniaturization for electronic devices -- with potential for real-world applications May 25th, 2015

UCLA nanoscientists are first to model atomic structures of three bacterial nanomachines: Cryo electron microscope enables scientists to explore the frontiers of targeted antibiotics April 21st, 2015

Advances in molecular electronics: Lights on -- molecule on: Researchers from Dresden and Konstanz succeed in light-controlled molecule switching April 20th, 2015

Molecular Nanotechnology

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

$8.5M Grant For Developing Nano Printing Technology: 4-D printing to advance chemistry, materials sciences and defense capabilities June 18th, 2015

Injectable electronics: New system holds promise for basic neuroscience, treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases June 8th, 2015

One step closer to a single-molecule device: Columbia Engineering researchers first to create a single-molecule diode -- the ultimate in miniaturization for electronic devices -- with potential for real-world applications May 25th, 2015

Discoveries

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

Announcements

A 'movie' of ultrafast rotating molecules at a hundred billion per second: A quantum wave-like nature was successfully observed in rotating nitrogen molecules July 4th, 2015

New Biosensor Produced in Iran to Detect Effective Drugs in Cancer Treatment July 4th, 2015

Clues to inner atomic life from subtle light-emission shifts: Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods July 3rd, 2015

Pioneering Southampton scientist awarded prestigious physics medal July 3rd, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

Engineering the world’s smallest nanocrystal July 2nd, 2015

Nanometric sensor designed to detect herbicides can help diagnose multiple sclerosis June 23rd, 2015

Newly-Developed Biosensor in Iran Detects Cocaine Addiction June 23rd, 2015

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Pioneering Southampton scientist awarded prestigious physics medal July 3rd, 2015

Making new materials with micro-explosions: ANU media release: Scientists have made exotic new materials by creating laser-induced micro-explosions in silicon, the common computer chip material June 29th, 2015

Opening a new route to photonics Berkeley lab researchers find way to control light in densely packed nanowaveguides June 27th, 2015

The quantum spin Hall effect is a fundamental property of light June 25th, 2015

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