Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

"Sifting" Liquid at the Cellular Level

18.07.2012
Drexel University engineers continue to drive research into the use of carbon nanotubes, straw-like structures that are more than 1,000 times thinner than a single human hair. Their most recent development uses the tiny tubes to separate liquids within a solution.

The researchers have shown that individual carbon nanotubes can act as a separation channel that would force two differing molecules to separate as easily as oil and water.

For example, the molecules that comprise two chemically distinct liquids will interact differently with the walls of the nanotube as the liquids flow through it. This will cause one of the liquids to drain through the nanoscale straw faster than the other, thus forcing a separation between the two liquids.

This technology could prove useful in a number of applications, including forensic studies with very small sample sizes and studying molecules extracted from individual cells. Forensic experts would be able to analyze trace evidence, even down to a single cell or invisible stains.

“We believe that this research will lead to development of tools for analysis on single living cells and push the limits of analytical chemistry to even smaller scales and to single organelle columns,” said Dr. Yury Gogotsi, director of the A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute.

Gogotsi and Dr. Gary Friedman, director of the Drexel Plasma Medicine Lab and a professor of electrical and computer engineering, were the lead researchers on a study about applications of nanotubes for cellular chromatography that was recently published in Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports. The research was funded by a grant from W.M. Keck Foundation and the National Science Foundation’s National Interdisciplinary Research Teams program.

The carbon nanotubes used in this study measure as small as 70 nanometers in outer diameter and are currently the smallest chromatography columns ever made. The carbon nanotube columns are mechanically robust and are able to withstand repeated bending and compression. These characteristics are vital for applications at the cellular level, as the tiny tubes’ durability allows them to penetrate cell membranes.

Continued nanotube research by Drexel engineers will examine the development of electrochemical and optical tools. The full text of the report can be viewed here.

News Media Contact

Britt Faulstick
News Officer, University Communications
britt.faulstick@drexel.edu
Phone: 215-895-2617
Mobile: 215-796-5161

Britt Faulstick | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.drexel.edu

Further reports about: carbon nanotubes cell membrane cellular protein living cell

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>