Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Vienna University of Technology have developed a modular system that combines chemical and biological sensing tools capable of providing simultaneous, nano-level resolution information on cell topography and biological activity. The tools integrate micro and nanoscale electrodes into the tips of an atomic force microscope (AFM). A veritable Swiss army knife of sensors, the patented technique is currently being tested to combine other sensing methods to give scientists a more holistic view of cellular activities. The research is published in Vol 44, 2005 of the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.
By adding electrodes to the tip of an atomic force microscope, researchers created a tool that can monitor many activities at the same time. "Usually people image topography and then measure the biological activity,” said Christine Kranz, research scientist at Georgia Tech. “But if you think about having biological material, it’s changing with time. So scanning for these sequentially may mean that the structure and activity level of your sample has changed and you’re not looking at the same condition of your sample anymore.”
Using an AFM as the base, researchers added micro and nano-electrodes into the tip. This allows researchers to get biological and chemical information via scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) simultaneously with topographical information provided by AFM.
David Terraso | EurekAlert!
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