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New Keck award spurs research for low-cost, mass measurements

ecular oscillators and has been shown in preliminary experiments to be capable of detecting gold nanoparticles a few nm in size. The technique relies on the fact that coherent electron oscillations on a metal surfaceknown as plasmons can be optically excited, yielding a detectable signal.

In describing the new method, Tao says: "We use a molecular self-assembly method to fabricate mechanical oscillators, and a plasmonic method to read the oscillations."

Two gifted young researchers in Tao's laboratory in Biodesign's Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors are critical to the endeavor. Shaopeng Wang heads up a team responsible for the fabrication and assembly of the oscillators, while Josh Hihath leads another research group focusing on the detection of the oscillators.

The project paves the way for versatile, low-cost mass spectrometry measurements that do not require ionization. If successful, the method will provide a powerful analytical tool for both basic and applied research, permitting close examination of single-molecule binding events, as well as evaluation of chemicals of environmental, security and biomedical relevance.


Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer
Arizona State University

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