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New nanoscale transistors allow sensitive probing inside cells
Date:8/12/2010

vices are easily pulled into a cell via membrane fusion, a process related to that used to engulf viruses and bacteria.

"This eliminates the need to push the nanoFETs into a cell, since they are essentially fused with the cell membrane by the cell's own machinery," Lieber says. "This also means insertion of nanoFETs is not nearly as traumatic to the cell as current electrical probes. We found that nanoFETs can be inserted and removed from a cell multiple times without any discernible damage to the cell. We can even use them to measure continu-ously as the device enters and exits the cell."

Secondly, the current paper builds upon previous work by Lieber's group to introduce triangular "stereocenters" essentially, fixed 120 joints into nanowires, structures that had previously been rigidly linear. These stereocenters, analogous to the chemical hubs found in many complex organic molecules, introduce kinks into 1-D nanostructures, transforming them into more complex forms.

Lieber and his co-authors found that introducing two 120 angles into a nanowire in the proper cis orientation creates a single V-shaped 60 angle, perfect for a two-pronged nanoFET with a sensor at the tip of the V. The two arms can then be connected to wires to create a current through the nanoscale transistor.


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Contact: Michael Patrick Rutter
mrutter@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-3815
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

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