Commercializing nano

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Unformatted text preview: e areas, and in fact many of the developments in one category catalyze development in another. Bioanalysis. The earliest commercial nanotechnology is atomic force microscopy, now known more generally as scanning probe microscopy (SPM). Using a siliconbased needle of atomic sharpness, this approach was first used to image the topography of surfaces with atomic-scale precision2. The probe, positioned so close to the surface that it interacts with the atoms as it scans the surface, can also be used to pick atoms up and move them around for bottom up nanoscale assembly (Box 2). The technology thus provides an accessible benchtop device for nanoscale engineering and analysis. Although SPM is used primarily for analytical research, several companies have automated it for read-write capabilities (Table 2). NanoInk (Chicago, IL, USA) and VOLUME 21 NUMBER 10 OCTOBER 2003 N ATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY F E AT U R E © 2003 Nature Publishing Group http://www.nature.com/naturebiotechnology Core Interior Surface Figure 2 Dendrimer architecture in two and three dimensions. A dendrimer can be defined into a multitude of structures by tuning the three architectural components: the core (yellow), the interior area containing branch upon branch of repeat units (blue) and an exterior surface of terminal moieties attached to the outermost generation (red.) Source: Dendritic Nanotechnologies BioForce Nanosciences (Ames, IA, USA) are creating truly nanoscale molecular arrays using SPM tools to print biomolecular array elements. Because the instrument has both print and read capability, these systems do not require molecular labeling for ultrahighthroughput bioanalysis. Some micron-scale technologies can be considered platforms for nanoscale bioanalysis, and these products have already proven their value in the marketplace. For example, Caliper Technologies’ (Mountain View, CA, USA) microfluidic systems rou- tinely transport nanoliter volumes of fluid for nucleic acid and protein analysis. Affymetrix’s and Nanogen’s (San Diego, CA, USA) microarray platforms manipulate subnanogram quantities of genetic material. These technologies are converging to submicron resolution because of the demand for increased sensitivity and throughput for genomics and proteomics. Nanomaterials and true nanoscale devices are also being developed to address the need for greater sensitivity in high throughput screening (Box 3). Nanoparticles (dots, bars, dendrimers or colloids) provide molecular labels that are highly stable, readily multiplexed and comparable in size to the molecular components of interest. Quantum dots leverage semiconductor materials to provide robust quantum ‘fluorescence,’ with an array of colors that requires only a single illumination source. Quantum dots with a variety of conjugates and colors are currently available from Quantum Dot (Hayward, CA, USA) and Evident Technologies (Troy, NY, USA). Nanobars, constructed from alternating layers of reflective metals, are curr...
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This document was uploaded on 09/24/2013.

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