Imagine being able to rapidly identify tiny biological molecules such as DNA and toxins using less than a drop of salt water in a system that can fit on a microchip. It’s closer than you might believe, say a team of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Researchers at Purdue University have shown that common bacteria can deliver a valuable cargo of “smart nanoparticles” into a cell to precisely position sensors, drugs or DNA for the early diagnosis and treatment of various diseases.
The approach represents a potential way to overcome hurdles in delivering cargo to the interiors of cells, where they could be used as an alterative technology for gene therapy, said Rashid Bashir, a researcher at Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center.
Tiny plastic fibers could be the key to some diverse technologies in the future — including self-cleaning surfaces, transparent electronics, and biomedical tools that manipulate strands of DNA.
In the June issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, Ohio State University researchers describe how they created surfaces that, seen with the eye, look as flat and transparent as a sheet of glass. But seen up close, the surfaces are actually carpeted with tiny fibers.