Mol Switch Project Nanoactuator Opens New Vistas
The Mol Switch molecular magnetic switch Project has succeeded in creating a biological molecular motor - a nanoactuator - which "pulls" DNA to move a magnetic particle past a silicon-based detector. The Mol Switch nanoactuator is a molecular switch that links the biological and silicon worlds.
The motors bind to DNA at a specific site and then
translocate the rest of the DNA through the bound motor
following the helical thread of DNA.)
The key to the Mol Switch device is that researchers have attached a paramagnetic bead to the end of the DNA strand, which can be used to stretch the DNA. Perhaps more remarkably, it produces a molecular dynamo effect allowing electronic output from the moving magnet. Here's how it works:
The team uses a microfluidics chip that includes a number of channels measured in nano-metres. The novelty of microfluidics is that it can channel liquids in laminar, or predictable, flow.
The floor of this channel is peppered with Hall-Effect sensors. The Hall Effect describes how a magnetic
field influences an electric current. That influence can be measured to a high degree of accuracy. These
measurements link the biological motor with the electronic signals of the silicon world.
The biological element of the device starts with a DNA molecule that's fixed to the floor of the microfluidic
channel. This strand is held upright, like a string held up by a weather balloon, by anchoring the floating
end of the DNA strand to a magnetic bead, itself held up under the influence of magnetism...
The motor is attached to the strand at the specific sequence of bases. Then the team introduces ATP, the phosphate molecule that provides energy within living cells, into the microfluidics channel. This is the fuel for the motor. The motor then pulls the upright DNA strand through it until it reaches the magnetic bead, like a winch lowering a weather balloon.
A Hall-Effect sensor can measure the vertical movement of the magnetic bead which indicates whether the switch is on or off.
(From Nano machine switches between biological and silicon worlds pdf)
(Molecular magnetic switch in action)
A nano-scale actuator should be a very useful device. Actuators supply and transmit a measured amount of energy for the operation of another mechanism or system. It can be a simple mechanical device, converting between different forms of mechanical energy. Or, it can convert mechanical movement into an electrical signal. Mol Switch nanoactuators could be used for flow-control valves, pumps,
positioning drives, motors, switches, relays and biosensors.
The Mol Switch effort is an European Union-funded research project started in January of 2003; scientific teams in the U.K, France, Netherlands, Italy and the Czech Republic participated in bringing the project to a successful conclusion.
Read more about this amazing development in the Mol Switch press release and the
Mol Switch project website; found this one at Physorg.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/25/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.
Physicists Try To Turn Light Into Matter
If E=mc squared, then... m=E/c squared!
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'
SpotMini Robot Dog, Autonomous And On Sale In 2019
Great, an autonomous slamhound. It is cute, though.
RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable
Don't swat this fly!
MSG Sphere Las Vegas, ala Star Wars
'The smoky globe, hung in the vault, was shot with colored light...'
Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...
MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!
UberAIR Asks For Skytaxi Landing Prototypes
You know you want to ride in one.
Boring Tunnel Almost Ready
Your underground future is calling!
Handheld Human Skin Printer
It outputs a thin wad of uniflesh.
Healthy Fast Food Courtesy Of Robot Chefs
'The electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.'
Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing
Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.
Retinal Prosthesis Uses Organic Printing Inks
We can rebuild you - well, your eyes, maybe.
Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.
Squid-Like Robots Soon To Be 3D Printable
'It was a chemotactic artificial jellyfish designed to slither...'
Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories