Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Using gold and light to study molecules in water: Researchers at EPFL can now observe biomolecule interactions in a sample of water in real time; A major step for medicine

This is an infographic drawing showing how the new detection device works.

Credit: EPFL/Pascal Coderay
This is an infographic drawing showing how the new detection device works.

Credit: EPFL/Pascal Coderay

Abstract:
Thanks to a new device that is the size of a human hair, it is now possible to detect molecules in a liquid solution and observe their interactions. This is of major interest for the scientific community, as there is currently no reliable way of examining both the behavior and the chemical structure of molecules in a liquid in real time.

Using gold and light to study molecules in water: Researchers at EPFL can now observe biomolecule interactions in a sample of water in real time; A major step for medicine

Posted on July 31st, 2013

Developed at Boston University by Hatice Altug and her student Ronen Adato, the process brings together infrared detection techniques and gold nanoparticles. It could potentially make a whole new class of measurements possible, which would be a critical step in understanding basic biological functions as well as key aspects of disease progression and treatment. "Our technology could prove useful for studying the behaviour of proteins, medicines and cells in the blood or pollutants in water", says Hatice Altug.

Now a researcher at EPFL Dr. Altug has had her results published in Nature Communications.

Like a guitar string

The device is based on a well-known detection technique called infrared absorption spectroscopy. Infrared light can already be used to detect elements: The beam excites the molecules, which start to vibrate in different ways depending on their size, composition and other properties. "It's like a guitar string vibrating differently depending on its length," explains Hatice Altug. The unique vibration of each type of molecule acts as a signature for that molecule.

This technique works very well in dry environments but not at all well in aqueous environments. "A large number of molecules need to be present for them to be detected. It's also more difficult to detect molecules in water, as when the beam goes through the solution, the water molecules vibrate as well and interfere with the target molecule's signature," explains Dr. Altug.

Using nanoparticles to capture and illuminate molecules

To get around these obstacles, the researchers have developed a system capable of isolating the target molecules and eliminating interferences.

The size of a penny, the device is made up of miniature fluidic chambers, which are covered on one side with nano-scale gold particles with surprising properties. "We cover the surface of the nanoparticles with, for example, antibodies, in order to make a specific protein or chemical stick to them," explains the researcher. "Once the solution containing the targeted elements is introduced into the chamber, the nanoparticles act as molecule catchers." This technique makes it possible to isolate the target molecules from the rest of the liquid.

But this is not the only role the nanoparticles play. They are also capable of concentrating light in nanometer-size volumes around their surface as a result of plasmonic resonance.

In the chamber, the beam doesn't need to pass through the whole solution. Instead, it is sent straight to the nanoparticle, which concentrates the light. Caught in the trap, the target molecules are the only ones that are so intensely exposed to the photons.

The reaction between the molecules and the infrared photons is extremely strong, which means they can be detected and observed very precisely. "This technique enables us to observe molecules in-situ as they react with elements in their natural environment. This could prove extremely useful for both medicine and biology," states Dr. Altug.

Use in medical research

Another advantage is that the chip is extremely compact and can be connected to microscopes already in use. "We don't need large sample sizes to conduct our analyses," says Ronen Adato.

Going forward, Hatice Altug intends to continue her research with a focus on medical applications. The first tests have been conducted with ordinary antibody molecules, and the analyses now need to be fine-tuned. "I'd really like to work with other life-science researchers, hospitals and biologists. I'm especially interested in using my method in the study of diseases, including cancer and neurological disorders, to observe the effect of certain medicines on diseased cells or to detect disease biomarkers, for example."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Pessina Laure-Anne

41-793-602-538

Copyright © Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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

Leti Field Trials Demonstrate New Multicarrier Waveform for Rural, Maritime Broadband Radio: Field Trial in Orkney Islands Used New Filtered Multicarrier Waveform at 700MHz Band with Flexible Bandwidth Usage (Fragmented and Continuous Spectrum) December 18th, 2017

CubeSat Structures Competition Opens Space Design to Students of the World December 16th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Leti Will Demonstrate First 3D Anti-Crash Solution for Embedding in Drones: Fitted on a Mass-Market Microcontroller, 360Fusion Software Technology Detects any Dynamic Obstacle and Helps Guide Drones Away from Collisions December 15th, 2017

Imaging

Perking up and crimping the 'bristles' of polyelectrolyte brushes December 13th, 2017

JPK Instruments announce partnership with Swiss company, Cytosurge AG. The partnership makes Cytosurge’s FluidFM® technology available on the JPK NanoWizard® AFM platform December 8th, 2017

Researchers advance technique to detect ovarian cancer: Rice, MD Anderson use fluorescent carbon nanotube probes to achieve first in vivo success November 30th, 2017

Deben reports on a new publication from scientists at La Trobe University in Australia where their CT500 stage is used in micro scanning tomography experiments to better understand ceramic matrix composites under load November 29th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves computationally designed protein assemblies are advancing research in synthetic life and in targeted drug delivery December 15th, 2017

Perking up and crimping the 'bristles' of polyelectrolyte brushes December 13th, 2017

Leti to Demo Wristband with Embedded Sensors to Diagnose Sleep Apnea: APNEAband, Which Will Be Demonstrated at CES 2018, Also Monitors Mountain Sickness, Dehydration, Dialysis Treatment Response and Epileptic Seizures December 12th, 2017

Untangling DNA: Researchers filter the entropy out of nanopore measurements December 8th, 2017

Discoveries

Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms December 15th, 2017

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves computationally designed protein assemblies are advancing research in synthetic life and in targeted drug delivery December 15th, 2017

Announcements

Leti Field Trials Demonstrate New Multicarrier Waveform for Rural, Maritime Broadband Radio: Field Trial in Orkney Islands Used New Filtered Multicarrier Waveform at 700MHz Band with Flexible Bandwidth Usage (Fragmented and Continuous Spectrum) December 18th, 2017

CubeSat Structures Competition Opens Space Design to Students of the World December 16th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Leti Will Demonstrate First 3D Anti-Crash Solution for Embedding in Drones: Fitted on a Mass-Market Microcontroller, 360Fusion Software Technology Detects any Dynamic Obstacle and Helps Guide Drones Away from Collisions December 15th, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms December 15th, 2017

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves computationally designed protein assemblies are advancing research in synthetic life and in targeted drug delivery December 15th, 2017

Tools

Perking up and crimping the 'bristles' of polyelectrolyte brushes December 13th, 2017

Untangling DNA: Researchers filter the entropy out of nanopore measurements December 8th, 2017

JPK Instruments announce partnership with Swiss company, Cytosurge AG. The partnership makes Cytosurge’s FluidFM® technology available on the JPK NanoWizard® AFM platform December 8th, 2017

Researchers advance technique to detect ovarian cancer: Rice, MD Anderson use fluorescent carbon nanotube probes to achieve first in vivo success November 30th, 2017

Water

A new way to mix oil and water: Condensation-based method developed at MIT could create stable nanoscale emulsions November 8th, 2017

Magnetized viruses attack harmful bacteria: Rice, China team uses phage-enhanced nanoparticles to kill bacteria that foul water treatment systems August 2nd, 2017

Bacteria-coated nanofiber electrodes clean pollutants in wastewater July 1st, 2017

Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water, Penn chemists report June 16th, 2017

Research partnerships

Leti Field Trials Demonstrate New Multicarrier Waveform for Rural, Maritime Broadband Radio: Field Trial in Orkney Islands Used New Filtered Multicarrier Waveform at 700MHz Band with Flexible Bandwidth Usage (Fragmented and Continuous Spectrum) December 18th, 2017

Perking up and crimping the 'bristles' of polyelectrolyte brushes December 13th, 2017

Wheat gets boost from purified nanotubes: Rice University toxicity study shows plant growth enhanced by -- but only by -- purified nanotubes December 6th, 2017

Copper will replace toxic palladium and expensive platinum in the synthesis of medications: The effectiveness of copper nanoparticles as a catalyst has been proven December 5th, 2017

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