Navigation Links
Penn engineers create carbon nanopipettes that are smaller than cells and measure electric current
Date:1/15/2008

PHILADELPHIA - University of Pennsylvania engineers and physicians have developed a carbon nanopipette thousands of times thinner than a human hair that measures electric current and delivers fluids into cells. Researchers developed this tiny carbon-based tool to probe cells with minimal intrusion and inject fluids without damaging or inhibiting cell growth.

Glass micropipettes are found in almost every cell laboratory in the world but are fragile at small scales, can cause irreparable cell damage and cannot be used as injectors and electrodes simultaneously. Haim Bau, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at Penn, and his team developed tiny carbon-based pipettes that can be mass-produced to eliminate the problems associated with glass micropipettes. Although they range in size from a few tens to a few hundred nanometers, they are far stronger and more flexible than traditional glass micropipettes. If the tip of a carbon nanopipette, or CNP, is pressed against a surface, the carbon tip bends and flexes, then recovers its initial shape. They are rigid enough to penetrate muscle cells, carcinoma cells and neurons.

Researchers believe the pipettes will be useful for concurrently measuring electrical signals of cells during fluid injection. In addition, the pipettes are transparent to X rays and electrons, making them useful when imaging even at the molecular level. Adding a functionalized protein to the pipette creates a nanoscale biosensor that can detect the presence of proteins.

Penns Micro-Nano Fluidics Laboratory now mass-produces these pipettes and uses them to inject reagents into cells without damaging the cells, Bau said. "We are ultimately interested in developing nanosurgery tools to monitor cellular processes and control or alter cellular functions. We feel CNPs will help scientists gain a better understanding of how a cell functions and help develop new drugs and therapeutics."

Just as important as the mechanical properties of carbon nanopipettes, however, is the ease of fabrication, said Michael Schrlau, a doctoral candidate and first author of the study, Carbon Nanopipettes for Cell Probes and Intracellular Injection, published in the most recent issue of Nanotechnology. After depositing a carbon film inside quartz micropipettes, we wet-etch away the quartz tip to expose a carbon nanopipe. We can simultaneously produce hundreds of these integrated nanoscale devices without any complex assembly, he said.

The next challenge for researchers is fully utilizing the new tools in nanosurgery.

"We will need to go beyond the proof-of-concept, development stage into the utilization stage," Schrlau said. "This includes finding the appropriate collaborations across engineering, life science and medical disciplines."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jordan Reese
jreese@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. President honors mentors of scientists and engineers
2. Nanoengineers mine tiny diamonds for drug delivery
3. Engineers study brain folding in higher mammals
4. Institution of Chemical Engineers chooses Elsevier as publishing partner
5. CU researcher engineers sorghum that grows in poisonous soils
6. Boston University biomedical engineers find chink in bacterias armor
7. UCR engineers to develop new tool to measure how environmental exposures affect health
8. Princeton engineers develop low-cost recipe for patterning microchips
9. Bioengineers at University of Pennsylvania devise nanoscale system to measure cellular forces
10. New techniques create butanol
11. Researchers create mathematical model of fruit fly eyes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Penn engineers create carbon nanopipettes that are smaller than cells and measure electric current
(Date:2/3/2016)... 4, 2016 --> --> ... M (105.0), up 1,187% compared with fourth quarter of 2014. ... 517.6 M (loss: 30.0). Earnings per share increased to SEK ... 537.4 M (neg: 74.7). , --> ... to SEK 2,900.5 M (233.6), up 1,142% compared with 2014. ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016 This BCC Research ... market by reviewing the recent advances in high ... drive the field forward. Includes forecast through 2019. ... the challenges and opportunities that exist in the ... solution developers, as well as IT and bioinformatics ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 2016 Rising sales of consumer ... touchfree intuitive gesture control market size ... of consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to ... size through 2020   --> ... technological advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture control ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 09, 2016 , ... Clinovo , the cloud-based eClinical ... Data Capture (EDC) system ClinCaptureand its new Contract Research Organization (CRO) Partner Program ... in San Mateo, California on February 10th and 11th. Watch 2-min video ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 09, 2016 , ... PharmApprove announced today the ... Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Dorman will lead PharmApprove efforts to work with ... the drug regulatory review process. , “Adding Diane Dorman is just the latest ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... 2016 Three-Year Initiative Supports Next Generation ... Part in Life-Changing Camp Experiences ... positively affect the lives of children born with rare diseases, as ... SHPG ) is announcing a new initiative designed to positively affect ... the future of rare disease care. --> To mark ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... Should antibiotic bone cement products be used ... infection after standard total hip or knee replacement surgery? ... have been fielding a lot lately. "Antibiotic ... --> "Antibiotic Bone Cement: Fighting ... --> While there isn,t a simple answer, ECRI ...
Breaking Biology Technology: