Biosensors

Biosensors are not just natural sensors that are part of life they are sensors for biological entities including proteins, drugs, and even specific viruses. Nature does have a variety of schemes for approaching the detection of these entities. One common method is the one behind allergic response. When a body is first exposed to an allergen (a benign substance that it mistakes for a hostile invader), it is sensitized, which means that it creates antibodies that will recognize that allergen if...

Experiment in the Palm of Your Hand Labona Chip

If you read almost any scientific proposal, you will be struck by the amount of money required to pay for two simple but basic needs space and people. Scientific instruments take up a fair amount of space, it's true, but most lab space requirements are taken up by passageways, desks, open surfaces, keyboards, monitors, hoods, emergency equipment, and other necessities for the humans who work there. If you could automate all human tasks in a laboratory and collapse all this space, you could make...

The Return of Scanning Probe Instruments

Scanning probe instruments can be used not just to see structures but also to manipulate them. The dragging finger analogy is useful again here. Just as you can scratch, dimple, or score a soft surface as you drag your finger along it, you can also modify a surface with the tip of a scanning probe. Scanning probes were used to manipulate the individual molecule beads on the molecular abacus in Figure 1.3. They have also been used to make wonderful nanoscale graffiti by arranging atoms or...

Natural Nanoscale Sensors

As is true with so much of the rest of nanoscience and nanotechnology, examples of sensors at the nanoscale are very widespread in biology. Sensors are crucial to communications, and communication with other organisms is one of the central characteristics of life. Signals come in a variety of formats including molecules, sound, smell, and touch, and they also can come in electromagnetic forms such as heat and light. The ability to detect these signals is both desirable, as in a fragrant...

Tools for Measuring Nanostructures Scanning Probe Instruments

Some of the first tools to help launch the nanoscience revolution were the so-called scanning probe instruments. All types of scanning probe instruments are based on an idea first developed at the IBM Laboratory in Zurich in the 1980s. Essentially, the idea is a simple one if you rub your finger along a surface, it is easy to distinguish velvet from steel or wood from tar. The different materials exert different forces on your finger as you drag it along the different surfaces. In these...

Nanobricks and Building Blocks

Nanostructures must be assembled from components. The fundamental building blocks are atoms of the 91 naturally occurring elements. Usually, though, it is inefficient to start with individual atoms. We saw both the strength and the slowness of this approach when we discussed building atomic scale nanostructures using scanning probe microscopy, especially if we are trying to make a macroscopic amount of a material rather than build a single nanoscale machine. Richard Smalley, who won the Nobel...

Nanosphere Liftoff Lithography

Nanosphere Lithography

If marbles are placed together on a board as tightly as possible, they will form a tight group, with each marble surrounded by six others. If this array were spray painted from the top, and then the marbles were tipped off the board, the paint would appear as a set of painted dots, each shaped like a triangle but with concave sides see Figure 4.5 . Now if the marbles are nanoscale, so are the paint dots. In fact, Figure 4.5 shows dots of silver metal prepared by Rick Van Duyne's group at...

Smart Materials

Nano-scale science and engineering most likely will produce the strategic technology breakthroughs of tomorrow. Our ability to work at the molecular level, atom by atom, to create something new, something we can manufacture from the bottom up, opens up huge vistas for many of us This technology may be the key that turns the dream David Swain Senior Vice President of Engineering amp Technology, The Boeing Company Heterogeneous Nanostructures and Composites Suppose that corrosion processes could...