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Magnetic computer sensors may help study biomolecules

molecules. The NIST group is now working on a microfluidic chip that will accomplish this electronically, which would be a significant milestone for applications.

Parallel processing of single biomolecules would be a significant advance over existing techniques limited to studying one molecule at a time. Optical tweezers, which use lasers to trap and manipulate biomolecules, tend to be slow and limited in force, and the particles need to be micrometer sized or larger. Existing magnetic tweezers can trap smaller particles and apply torque, but typically require permanent immobilization of biomolecules, which is time consuming and prevents subsequent analysis.


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Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
303-497-4880
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
10-May-2007


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