An electric voltage can be used to propel DNA molecules through a channel a few nanometers deep, or to stop them in their tracks.
In a strong electric field the molecules judder along the channel, while in weaker fields they move more smoothly. This enables DNA fragments to be ‘captured’ on a chip and separated for analysis. University of Twente researchers will soon publish details of this work in Nano Letters.
The researchers found that, when forced through extremely shallow channels just 20 nanometers deep and a few micrometers wide, DNA molecules behave very differently than they do in free solution. In the latter situation they tend to form clumps, while molecules in the channels are forced into an elongated straitjacket.
This effect alone produces a difference in mobility between long and short molecules. Moreover, exposure to an electric field has now been shown to have a substantial effect. This presents a range of new options for the separation of fragments (and entire molecules) of DNA. The previous technique, known as gel electrophoresis, involved the use of micro-channels filled with a gel.
According to researcher Georgette Salieb-Beugelaar, the laborious and time-consuming process of pouring in the gel can be rendered obsolete by the new method.Roughness
Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
'Mushrooms' and 'brushes' help cancer-fighting nanoparticles survive in the body
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A new building material developed at Empa is about to be launched on the market: "memory-steel" can not only be used to reinforce new, but also existing concrete structures. When the material is heated (one-time), prestressing occurs automatically. The Empa spin-off re-fer AG is now presenting the material with shape memory in a series of lectures.
So far, the steel reinforcements in concrete structures are mostly prestressed hydraulically. This re-quires ducts for guiding the tension cables, anchors for...
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.
Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...
Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles
Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...
When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.
We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...
Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...
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