Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny ’test tubes’ may aid pharmaceutical R&D

29.09.2003


Using laser light as tweezers and a scalpel, scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated the use of artificial cells as nanovials for ultrasmall volume chemistry. The approach may be useful for faster, cheaper identification of new pharmaceuticals and for studying cellular-level processes. The researchers will report their results in the Sept. 30 edition of Langmuir.


A series of three photos show two lipsomes fusing into one.



The artificial cells, called liposomes, are tiny spherical containers that self-assemble from natural fats (phospholipids and cholesterol). Measuring micrometers in diameter, the fluid-filled membranes are currently used in cosmetics and for drug delivery.

The NIST team developed an improved method for using liposomes as tiny test tubes for mixing chemicals with volumes measured in trillionths of liters. Their experimental setup allows simultaneous trapping of two liposomes without deforming or stressing their membranes, a problem with some other techniques. They used pairs of infrared lasers ("optical tweezers") to bring two liposomes into contact and a single ultra-violet laser pulse (the "optical scalpel") to fuse the two cells together. Once fused, the contents of the two cells mix and react. One liposome in each pair contained fluorescent dye, and the other contained calcium ions. After the cells merged, fluorescence increased as a result of the reaction between the dye and the ions.


The optical scalpel achieves cleaner fusion and less leakage of contents than the typical technique using pulsed electric fields. The liposomes fully enclose their reactant chemicals, minimizing evaporation. Consequently, the technique also may be useful for quantitative studies of chemical reactions involving samples in the quadrillionths of liters.

Laura Ost | NIST
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov/
http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/current.htm#Cells

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Fraunhofer researchers develop measuring system for ZF factory in Saarbrücken
21.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

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...

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

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>