Use of Nanotechnology in Microfluidics

Techniques such as nanoimprinting are used to construct large arrays of nanoscale grooves with efficiency and speed. Now such grooves can be sealed with similar ease to form nanofluidic channels. Laser-assisted direct imprint technique has been described by scientists at Princeton University that allows the construction of millions of enclosed nanofluidic channels side by side on a single substrate, which is ideal for such parallel processing.1-5-1 By sputter-depositing silicon dioxide at an angle onto an array of prefabricated nanochannels imprinted into the surface of a biopolymer substrate, not only is an effective and uniform seal formed over the entire array, but the channels are further narrowed down to 10 nm, from an initial width of 55 nm. The authors point out that this process could be easily used for narrowing and sealing micro- and nano-fluidic structures formed by other patterning techniques. By minimizing the hollow space in such structures, it could help surpass existing limitations in the spatial resolution of these techniques.

A chip-scale maze for combing out strands of DNA and inserting them into nanoscale channels was made using standard, inexpensive lithographic techniques.1-6-1 Their ''gradient nanostructure'' might be used to isolate and stretch DNA molecules for analysis, e.g., to look for bound proteins such as transcription factors along the strand. Such molecules would be obscured in normal solution because DNA, like any other linear polymer, collapses into a random coil as a featureless blob. The strands can, in principle, be straightened by feeding them into channels just a few tens of nanometers wide, using nanofluidic techniques.

Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN) have found a way to fabricate flexible tubes whose diameters are 100 nm, i.e., 10 times narrower than those used in today's microfluidic systems.[7] The tubes could be used to make stacked, interconnected fluidic networks designed to shunt fluids around biochips that sense and analyze chemicals. The researchers discovered the method when they noticed that depositing a certain type of polymer into tiny silicon grooves caused the polymer at the tops of the grooves to close across the gaps, forming tubes. They realized the process could be used to make tiny networks of tubes for use in microfluidics. The method is also compatible with conventional processes for making chips and can be used to integrate the networks with electronic chip components.

Getting Started With Dumbbells

Getting Started With Dumbbells

The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment