Navigation Links
New nanochemistry technique encases single molecules in microdroplets

Inventing a useful new tool for creating chemical reactions between single molecules, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have employed microfluidicsthe manipulation of fluids at the microscopic scaleto make microdroplets that contain single molecules of interest. By combining this new microfluidic "droplet-on-demand" method with "optical tweezers" that could merge multiple droplets and cause their molecular contents to react, the research may ultimately lead to a compact, integrated setup for obtaining single-molecule information on the structure and function of important organic materials, such as proteins, enzymes, and DNA.

With the aid of NIST's Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, physicists Carlos Lpez-Mariscal and Kristian Helmerson created a tiny microfluidic device with a channel through which water can flow. Squeezed into a narrow stream by a mixture of oils whose viscosity, or resistance to flow, exerts pressure on it, the water then enters a narrow constriction. The water's abrupt pressure dropaccompanied by a dash of detergentbreaks its surface tension, splitting it into small droplets. (This same effect occurs when a thin stream of water falling from a faucet breaks up into small drops.)

The droplet sizes are highly uniform and can be tuned by adjusting the width of the constriction. With this technique, the researchers made droplets about a micrometer in diameteror half an attoliter (half a billionth of a billionth of a liter) in volume.

In the microfluidic channel, the water is laced with desired molecules of just the right concentration, so that resulting droplets each pick up on average just one molecule of interest. Inside each droplet, the individual molecules of interest slosh around freely in the relatively roomy sphere, along with the water molecules that make up the bulk of every droplet.

By using laser beams, the researchers can move two or more single-molecule-containing droplets, cause them to coalesce, and observe the reactions through optical methods. For their initial reactions, the researchers are mixing fluorescent molecules that emit different colors, but in the future, they envision more interesting chemical reactions, such as those between an infectious agent and an antibody, or a chromosome and a drug. The researchers can shape a laser beam into any desired pattern and thereby trap not only single drops, but arrays of them, opening up new possibilities for single-molecule spectroscopy.


Contact: Ben Stein
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Related biology news :

1. Breathing technique can reduce frequency, severity of asthma attacks
2. ORNL scientists hone technique to safeguard water supplies
3. Ben-Gurion U. developing new computer techniques to analyze historic Hebrew and Arabic documents
4. Scary ancient spiders revealed in 3-D models, thanks to new imaging technique
5. New advance in revolutionary bullet fingerprinting technique
6. New technique can fast-track better ionic liquids for biomass pre-treatments
7. New MRI technique could mean fewer breast biopsies in high-risk women
8. Can a new implant coating technique create a new six million dollar man?
9. Ovarian transplantation: First baby is born after a new technique
10. Ovarian transplantation: New technique gives greatly improved results in this delicate operation
11. Colon cancer screening technique shows continued promise in new study
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New nanochemistry technique encases single molecules in microdroplets
(Date:10/29/2015)... ANN ARBOR, Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015 ... with Eurofins Genomics for U.S. distribution of its ... DNA-seq kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... DNA to enable the preparation of NGS libraries ... in plasma for diagnostic and prognostic applications in ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... -- Munich, Germany , October ... automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking videos created ... that they can be quantitatively analyzed with SMI,s analysis ... , October 28-29, 2015. SMI,s Automated Semantic Gaze ... tracking videos created with SMI,s Eye Tracking Glasses ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... , Oct. 23, 2015 Research and Markets ... "Global Voice Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report ... --> The global voice recognition biometrics market ... --> --> ... been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) ... USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes ... with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. ... Healthcare Conference in New York on Wednesday, ... Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a corporate ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT ... and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... to maintain healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is ... of Health (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... request of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock ... news release there are no corporate developments that would ... --> --> About ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: