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PNNL scientists win 4 R&D 100 awards for environment, biology, security technologies
Date:7/8/2010

rate electrically charged atoms or molecules called ions as they zoom through an instrument. In previous FAIMS systems, the distance ions raced ranged from 15 to 55 millimeters -- even so, they took too long for the desired performance. "We needed to shorten the racetrack," said PNNL chemist Alex Shvartsburg.

But a shorter racetrack requires more intense electric fields to separate the pack of ions. So the team developed a FAIMS microchip with 0.3 millimeter-long channels that were only 35 micrometers wide. The short, narrow channels allow ion separation 100 to 10,000 times faster than previous instruments. Other design features improve the instrument's ability to measure both abundant and rare compounds in the same sample. Because the tiny FAIMS system was destined for use with mass spectrometry, the team then integrated and optimized the microchip with mass spectrometers at DOE's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL, as well as demonstrated how the new system can be used. The project was funded by the National Institutes of Health, DOE's Office of Science and PNNL.

Birthing the science of live cells
IncubATR--the Live-Cell Monitor

Cultured cells are difficult to study in real-time because they need constant food, shelter and warmth to stay alive. Now, researchers have hooked up a cell culture incubator to a spectroscope that detects, in living cells, important biological and chemical changes invisible to the naked eye. The invention will speed up scientific discovery, reduce costs and curtail the need for live animal testing in some cases.

With funding support from PNNL, PNNL physical scientist S.K. Sundaram and his colleagues worked with Simplex Scientific LLC, Middleton, Wis., to develop IncubATR--the Live-Cell Monitor. With it, scientists from many fields can take advantage of an analytical tool called ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. The tool uses infrared light to examine internal changes to molecule
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Contact: Mary Beckman
mary.beckman@pnl.gov
509-375-3688
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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