Navigation Links
Acoustic tweezers capture tiny creatures with ultrasound
Date:6/29/2012

University Park, Pa. -- A device about the size of a dime can manipulate living materials such as blood cells and entire small organisms, using sound waves, according to a team of bioengineers and biochemists from Penn State.

The device, called acoustic tweezers, is the first technology capable of touchlessly trapping and manipulating Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a one millimeter long roundworm that is an important model system for studying diseases and development in humans. Acoustic tweezers are also capable of precisely manipulating cellular-scale objects that are essential to many areas of fundamental biomedical research.

Acoustic tweezers use ultrasound, the same noninvasive technology doctors use to capture images of the fetus in the womb. The device is based on piezoelectric material that moves when under an electrical current. The vibrations pass through transducers attached to the piezoelectric substrate, where they are converted into standing surface acoustic waves (SAWs). The SAWs create pressure fields in the liquid medium that hold the specimen. The simple electronics in the device can tune the SAWs to precisely and noninvasively hold and move the specimen or inorganic object.

"We believe the device can be easily manufactured at a cost far lower than say, optical tweezers, which use lasers to manipulate single particles," said Tony Jun Huang, associate professor of bioengineering, whose group pioneered acoustic tweezers. "Optical tweezers require power densities 10,000,000 times greater than our acoustic tweezers, and the lasers can heat up and damage the cells, unlike ultrasound."

For many biological systems, acoustic tweezers will provide an excellent tool to mimic the conditions inside the body where cells are subject to waves of pressure and pulses of chemicals. The researchers published their results in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Acoustic tweezers will be used to position cells for interrogation by pulses of drug-like molecules to test as well as to exert mechanical forces on the cell wall," according to Stephen Benkovic, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry and holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Chemistry, whose group contributed to the paper, "The cells will contain bio-chemical markers, so we can observe the effect of drug pulses or pressure on the cell's biochemistry."

Acoustic tweezers are very versatile, said Huang. "We can manipulate a single cell or we can manipulate tens of thousands of cells at the same time."

Currently, the size of objects that can be moved with acoustic tweezers ranges from micrometers to millimeters, although with higher frequencies, it should be possible to move objects in the nanoscale regime, the researchers believe. Further work will include modifying the device to accommodate more fundamental biomedical studies with the Benkovic group.

Ultimately, the patent pending technology could lead to compact, noninvasive and inexpensive point-of-care applications, such as blood cell and cancer cell sorting and diagnostics. For now, the ability to trap and manipulate a living C. elegans for study is proof of their device's potential utility.


'/>"/>

Contact: Walt Mills
wem12@psu.edu
814-865-0285
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Satellite captures images of sandstorm
2. Bacterial shock to recapture essential phosphate
3. Its a trap! New laboratory technique captures microRNA targets
4. Nea Kameni volcano movement captured by Envisat
5. Computer model pinpoints prime materials for efficient carbon capture
6. New materials could slash energy costs for CO2 capture
7. Pitcher plant uses rain drops to capture prey
8. Ultrasound idea: Prototype NIST/CU bioreactor evaluates engineered tissue while creating it
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Acoustic tweezers capture tiny creatures with ultrasound
(Date:3/9/2016)... , March 9, 2016 ... identified that more than 23,000 public service employees either ... been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ... government identified that more than 23,000 public service employees ... had been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... 2016  2016FLEX, organized by FlexTech, a SEMI ... in flexible, hybrid and printed electronics. More than ... have gathered for short courses, technical session, exhibits, ... The Flex Conference celebrates its 15 th ... organizations, and universities contributing to the adoption of ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... DUBLIN , March 1, 2016 ... has announced the addition of the  ... 2015-2019"  report to their offering. ... announced the addition of the  "Global ...  report to their offering. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... 28, 2016 , ... Morris Midwest ( http://www.morrismidwest.com ), a ... at its Maple Grove, Minnesota technical center, May 11-12. The event will ... Almost 20 leading suppliers of tooling, accessories, software and other related technology will ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased ... has been a volunteer member of Committee since 1987. Since then, he has served ... and treasurer and was chairman for both the program and exposition committees. In his ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... SPRING, Md. and RESEARCH TRIANGLE ... Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ: UTHR ) announced today ... Executive Officer, of United Therapeutics will provide an overview ... Bank 41 st Annual Health Care Conference. ... 5, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and can ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Lamka will assist PathSensors in expanding the use ... , PathSensors deploys the CANARY® test platform for the detection of harmful pathogens, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: