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.
Laura Ost | NIST
Intelligent wheelchairs, predictive prostheses
20.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA
Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering