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Novel chip-based platform could simplify measurements of single molecules
Date:8/14/2014

rs are able to gather electrical measurements on a nanoparticle as it moves through a pore in a solid membrane, and then measure the optical signals when the particle encounters a beam of light in the channel. By correlating the strength of the current decrease as a particle moves through the pore, the intensity of the optical signal, and the time of each measurement, the researchers are able to discriminate among particles with different sizes and optical properties and to determine the flow speed of particles through the channel.

The chip can also be used to differentiate particles of similar size but different composition. In one experiment, the researchers combined influenza viruses with nanobeads of a similar diameter and placed the mixture above the nanopore. The virus was labeled with a red fluorescent tag and the beads were labeled with a blue tag. The researchers correlated the electrical signal with the fluorescent wavelength and the time of each measurement. They found that the blue nanobeads traveled faster through the channel than red influenza virus, perhaps because of a difference in surface charge or mass. Besides identifying pathogens in a mixture, the researchers can also count the number of virus particles.

"This could be used as an analytical device to do reliable counts of virus particles in a sample," Schmidt said.

Currently, Schmidt's group is working on methods to add optical trapping to the device. This would allow a molecule in the channel to be held in one place, investigated, and released, with the potential to analyze hundreds of molecules in an hour. "Having this all on one chip would make single-molecule measurements much easier and more convenient," Schmidt said.


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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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