David Kirkpatrick

January 6, 2009

Light moves and traps DNA

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:29 pm

From KurzweilAI.net — Researchers at Cornell have used a beam of light to trap and move nanoparticles, including DNA molecules.

 

Using light to move and trap DNA molecules
PhysOrg.com, Jan. 2, 2009

Cornell researchers have shown that a beam of light can trap and move particles as small as 75 nanometers in diameter, including DNA molecules.

The research will allow for creating a “lab on a chip,” in which a tiny biological sample would be carried through microscopic channels for processing. This could make possible portable, fast-acting detectors for disease organisms or food-borne pathogens, rapid DNA sequencing and other tests that now take hours or days.

The apparatus uses a “slot waveguide” — two parallel silicon bars 60 nm apart, serving as two parallel wave guides. Light waves traveling along each guide expand beyond its boundaries, but because the parallel guides are so close together, the waves overlap and most of the energy is concentrated in the slot. In addition to creating a more intense beam, this structure allows a beam of light to be channeled through air or water.

 
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