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NIST-Cornell Team Builds World's First Nanofluidic Device with Complex 3-D Surfaces

Chamber Separates Nanoparticles Like a ‘Coin Sorter'

March 31, 2009
Story Courtesy of NIST

Researchers at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Cornell University have capitalized on a process for manufacturing integrated circuits at the nanometer (billionth of a meter) level and used it to develop a method for engineering the first-ever nanoscale fluidic (nanofluidic) device with complex three-dimensional surfaces. The Lilliputian chamber is a prototype for future tools with custom-designed surfaces to manipulate and measure different types of nanoparticles in solution.

Among the potential applications for this technology: the processing of nanomaterials for manufacturing; the separation and measuring of complex nanoparticle mixtures for drug delivery, gene therapy and nanoparticle toxicology; and the isolation and confinement of individual DNA strands for scientific study as they are forced to unwind and elongate (DNA typically coils into a ball-like shape in solution) within the shallowest passages of the device.

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