Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanoscale transistors used to study single-molecule interactions

Date:
January 25, 2011
Source:
Columbia University
Summary:
Researchers have figured out a way to study single-molecule interactions on very short time scales using nanoscale transistors. Researchers show how, for the first time, transistors can be used to detect the binding of the two halves of the DNA double helix with the DNA tethered to the transistor sensor.

An interdisciplinary team from Columbia University that includes electrical engineers from Columbia's Engineering School, together with researchers from the University's departments of Physics and Chemistry, has figured out a way to study single-molecule interactions on very short time scales using nanoscale transistors. In a paper to be published online January 23 in Nature Nanotechnology, they show how, for the first time, transistors can be used to detect the binding of the two halves of the DNA double helix with the DNA tethered to the transistor sensor. The transistors directly detect and amplify the charge of these single biomolecules.

Prior to this work, scientists have largely used fluorescence techniques to look at interactions at the level of single molecules. These studies have yielded fundamental understanding of folding, assembly, dynamics, and function of proteins and other cellular machinery. But these techniques require that the target molecules being studied be labeled with fluorescent reporter molecules, and the bandwidths for detection are limited by the time required to collect the very small number of photons emitted by these reporters.

The Columbia researchers, including Professor of Electrical Engineering Ken Shepard, Professor of Chemistry Colin Nuckolls, and graduate students Sebastian Sorgenfrei and Chien-Yang Chiu, realized that transistors, like those used in modern integrated circuits, have reached the same nanoscale dimensions as single molecules. "So this raised the interesting question," said Sorgenfrei, the lead author on the study, "as to whether these very small transistors could be used to study individual molecules."

They have discovered that the answer is "yes." The transistors employed in this study are fashioned from carbon nanotubes, which are cylindrical tubes made entirely of carbon atoms. While these are still emerging devices for electronics applications, they are exquisitely sensitive because the biomolecule can be directly tethered to the carbon nanotube wall creating enough sensitivity to detect a single DNA molecule.

The Columbia team expects this new technique to be a powerful tool for looking at single molecule interactions and is looking at instrumentation applications that currently rely almost exclusively on fluorescence such as protein assays and DNA sequencing. They also plan to study interactions at time scales several orders of magnitude greater than current techniques based on fluorescence.

"The area of single molecule research is an important one and pushes the envelope on our sensing systems," commented Ken Shepard, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia Engineering. "There is a huge potential for modern nanoelectronics to play an important role in this field. Our work, which has been a terrific collaboration between groups from Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics, is a great example of how nanoelectronics and biotechnology can be combined to produce new, exciting results."

Shepard hopes that this research, which was funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, will lead to exciting new applications for nanoscale electronic circuits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sebastian Sorgenfrei, Chien-yang Chiu, Ruben L. Gonzalez, Young-Jun Yu, Philip Kim, Colin Nuckolls, Kenneth L. Shepard. Label-free single-molecule detection of DNA-hybridization kinetics with a carbon nanotube field-effect transistor. Nature Nanotechnology, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2010.275

Cite This Page:

Columbia University. "Nanoscale transistors used to study single-molecule interactions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110124102946.htm>.
Columbia University. (2011, January 25). Nanoscale transistors used to study single-molecule interactions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110124102946.htm
Columbia University. "Nanoscale transistors used to study single-molecule interactions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110124102946.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins