lunes, 23 de octubre de 2006

Faster nanowires may advance nanotechnological applications for detecting glucose, hormones or DNA

Without any doubt we are in times of change and inventions. For the same reason I want to share this notice, which really is an advance for medicine and health.

Stanford chemists have been making wires by synthesizing a material that conducts electricity faster and farther than earlier designs.

Chidsey , chemistry associate professor, and some students more from the University of Stanford, have developed attempts to make nanowires to produce a substance called oligophenyleneelthynylene, or OPE, which conducts electricity pretty well for about 3 nanometers (billionths of a meter). For practical applications, though, nanowires may need to conduct electricity farther. That's why Chidsey looked for a new material.

In a biological application, the end holding the iron would instead hold, say, an enzyme or piece of DNA capable of reacting with similar molecules in our bodies. The reaction would then cause a current to run through the wire to a computer chip. Dudek hopes to try detecting electrical changes in simple biological molecules as soon as this summer.

But such applications are far from reality yet because handling nanowires is not at all like handling ordinary electrical wires. This is chemistry: The wires are in solution and they are poured onto the gold plate where the sulfur end sticks, forming a single, invisible layer.

Even though, the OPV nanowire allows tunneling to occur relatively easily. In computer chips, tunneling is mostly a bad thing, Chidsey says: When electrons tunnel through a thin insulator around a circuit, they may cause it to short out.
Published by Katharine S. Miller/ Stanford University.
Photograph by Limin Tong/ Harvard University.

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