Navigation Links
Columbia University researchers use nanoscale transistors to study single-molecule interactions
Date:1/24/2011

New York January 23, 2011 An interdisciplinary team from Columbia University that includes electrical engineers from Columbia's Engineering School, together with researchers from the University's departments of Physics and Chemistry, has figured out a way to study single-molecule interactions on very short time scales using nanoscale transistors. In a paper to be published online January 23 in Nature Nanotechnology, they show how, for the first time, transistors can be used to detect the binding of the two halves of the DNA double helix with the DNA tethered to the transistor sensor. The transistors directly detect and amplify the charge of these single biomolecules.

Prior to this work, scientists have largely used fluorescence techniques to look at interactions at the level of single molecules. These studies have yielded fundamental understanding of folding, assembly, dynamics, and function of proteins and other cellular machinery. But these techniques require that the target molecules being studied be labeled with fluorescent reporter molecules, and the bandwidths for detection are limited by the time required to collect the very small number of photons emitted by these reporters.

The Columbia researchers, including Professor of Electrical Engineering Ken Shepard, Professor of Chemistry Colin Nuckolls, and graduate students Sebastian Sorgenfrei and Chien-Yang Chiu, realized that transistors, like those used in modern integrated circuits, have reached the same nanoscale dimensions as single molecules. "So this raised the interesting question," said Sorgenfrei, the lead author on the study, "as to whether these very small transistors could be used to study individual molecules."

They have discovered that the answer is "yes." The transistors employed in this study are fashioned from carbon nanotubes, which are cylindrical tubes made entirely of carbon atoms. While these are still emerging devices for electronics applications, they are exquisitely sensitive because the biomolecule can be directly tethered to the carbon nanotube wall creating enough sensitivity to detect a single DNA molecule.

The Columbia team expects this new technique to be a powerful tool for looking at single molecule interactions and is looking at instrumentation applications that currently rely almost exclusively on fluorescence such as protein assays and DNA sequencing. They also plan to study interactions at time scales several orders of magnitude greater than current techniques based on fluorescence.

"The area of single molecule research is an important one and pushes the envelope on our sensing systems," commented Ken Shepard, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia Engineering. "There is a huge potential for modern nanoelectronics to play an important role in this field. Our work, which has been a terrific collaboration between groups from Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics, is a great example of how nanoelectronics and biotechnology can be combined to produce new, exciting results."

Shepard hopes that this research, which was funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, will lead to exciting new applications for nanoscale electronic circuits.


'/>"/>

Contact: Holly Evarts
holly@engineering.columbia.edu
212-854-3206
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Named Life Sciences Company of the Year by LifeSciences British Columbia
2. Leading North American Emergency Medical Services Provider British Columbia Ambulance Service Selects NICE Inform for Improved Service
3. Columbia engineering team discovers graphenes weakness
4. NIH Funds $1M Research at Quest Product Development and University of Colorado for New Digitally-Controlled Endoscopes
5. University of Pennsylvania scientists move optical computing closer to reality
6. RainDance Technologies Signs a Collaboration Agreement with sanofi-aventis and Louis Pasteur University to Launch dScreen Consortium within ALSACE BIOVALLEY cluster
7. University of Southern California Receives Cancer Diagnosis System for Detecting Esophageal Dysplasia
8. Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Hackensack University Medical Center: First in Nation to Receive Joint Commission Certification for Quality and First in New Jersey to be Named a Blue Distinction(R) Center for Specialty Care.
9. [video] Ronald Andrews, CEO of Clarient, Inc. Discusses Agreement With University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine on WallSt.nets 3-Minute Press Show
10. George Washington University Hospital Purchases Orthocrats TraumaCad(TM) for Orthopedic Preoperative Planning
11. Sigma-Aldrich and the University of Illinois Offer New Boronic Acid Surrogates to Researchers Worldwide Through Licensing Agreement
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/17/2017)... , Feb. 17, 2017  BioGenex, a global ... development of a novel system for quantitative immunohistochemistry ... the University of Rochester (NY, USA) and Konica-Minolta ... new system is able to accurately quantify the ... (Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2) in clinical samples. ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 16, 2017 , ... EIT Digital has ... at the agricultural industry. Pilot studies are about to get under way for the ... Data and 5G innovations. The concept is expected to be transferred eventually to other ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. , Feb. 16, ... molecular diagnostics company revolutionizing the development of liquid ... that it has entered into an exclusive license ... who will distribute MDNA,s proprietary liquid biopsy test ... in South Korea . This ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017   Biostage, Inc. ... a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants to treat ... and trachea, announced today the closing on February 15, ... shares of common stock and warrants to purchase 20,000,000 ... $8.0 million. The offering was priced at $0.40 per ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:2/8/2017)... 2017 About Voice Recognition Biometrics Voice recognition ... against a stored voiceprint template. Acoustic features of ... tone are compared to distinguish between individual voices. ... most PCs already have a microphone and can ... biometrics are most likely to be deployed in ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... 7, 2017 Report Highlights The ... from $8.3 billion in 2016 at a compound annual ... Report Includes - An overview of the global ... with data from 2015 and 2016, and projections of ... of the market on the basis of product type, ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... DENVER , Feb. 6, 2017 ... national security are driving border authorities to continue ... Acuity reports there are 2143 Automated Border Control ... Kiosks currently deployed at more than 163 ports ... between 2013 to 2016 achieving a combined CAGR ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):