Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

World’s Smallest Reaction Chamber

Published: Friday, December 07, 2012
Last Updated: Friday, December 07, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Scientists from New Zealand, Austria and the UK have created the world’s smallest reaction chamber, with a mixing volume that can be measured in femtolitres.

Using this minuscule reaction chamber, lead researcher Peter Derrick, professor of chemical physics and physical chemistry and head of the Institute of Fundamental Sciences at Massey University in New Zealand, plans to study the kind of speedy, nanoscale biochemical reactions that take place inside individual cells. This work appears in the latest issue of the European Journal of Mass Spectrometry.

The reaction chamber actually consists of nothing more than a tiny spray of liquid. It is produced by a technique known as electrospray ionization, in which a liquid is converted into lots of charged droplets by exposing it to a high voltage as it exits the nozzle of a thin capillary.

Like water being sprayed out of a hose, these charged droplets form a cone shape, known as a Taylor cone, as they are emitted from the nozzle. Because the electrospray process transforms any chemical entities within the liquid into ions, it is a commonly used technique for ionizing a liquid sample prior to analysis by mass spectrometry.

In conventional electrospray ionization, the charged droplets are emitted from a single nozzle and form a single Taylor cone. Derrick realised that emitting charged droplets with different chemical compositions from two separate but adjoining nozzles would cause their respective Taylor cones to merge, potentially allowing the chemical entities in those droplets to react together.

MS_image_Dec2012.gif

Confocal micrograph showing the two streams of liquids and the fused Taylor cone. Credit: Matthew Gill and University of Warwick.

By making the nozzles small enough, such that they produce Taylor cones with femtolitre volumes, and linking them to a mass spectrometer, this set-up could be used to study the kind of speedy, nanoscale biochemical reactions that take place within cells. “The idea was that the entities could be introduced separately through the two channels lying side-by-side into this extremely small volume,” explains Derrick.

To test this approach, he and his colleagues fabricated a metal-coated dual-channel electrospray emitter, in which a single circular capillary, just 4.5 μm in diameter, is divided into two semi-circular channels. After first spraying different colour dye molecules from each channel and showing that the resultant Taylor cones merge together, the scientists sprayed the antibiotic vancyomycin from one channel and a version of the peptide it binds to from the other.

As expected, the two molecules bound to each other within the merged, femtolitre-size Taylor cone, with the whole reaction process taking just a few tens of microseconds. The resultant molecular complex formed by vancyomycin and the peptide could clearly be detected by the mass spectrometer.

“We showed that a device that works as hoped can be fabricated and that biochemical reactions do occur within the very small volume,” says Derrick.

As well as offering a novel way to study biochemical reactions, this approach could provide a whole new way to conduct electrospray ionization. “This could become the standard method of doing electrospray,” says Derrick, “because none of the myriad beneficial capabilities of present-day electrospray are lost through using just one channel for the sample. The other channel could then be used for compounds that can probe the chemical properties of the sample.”

The research is published as Lewis P. Mark, Matthew C. Gill, Marek Mahut and Peter J. Derrick, “Dual nano-electrospray for probing solution interactions and fast reactions of complex biomolecules”, Eur. J. Mass Spectrom. 18(5), 439–446 (2012), doi: 10.1255/ejms.1198.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Mountain Climbing Without the Headaches
By monitoring blood flow in the brains of six climbers, researchers have identified a possible way to prevent the headaches that are a common feature of altitude sickness.
Friday, April 04, 2014
NIR Spectroscopy Can Ensure the Safety and Purity of Dairy Products
NIR spectroscopy has been used for quality assurance purposes by the dairy industry for over 40 years.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A Non-Invasive Method for Estimating Skin Thickness
A novel application of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy offers skin specialists the ability to monitor skin for medical and cosmetic purposes in a cost-effective and harmless manner.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Non-invasive Assessment of Glycaemic Index Using Near Infrared Light
A reliable, non-invasive technique for checking blood glucose has eluded medical analysts despite many years of research by teams in many countries. Professor Sumio Kawano and colleagues at the National Food Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan, have demonstrated that GI can be determined without the need for an excessive number of blood samples.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
ReadCoor Launched to Commercialize 3D Sequencing Tech
ReadCoor will leverage the Wyss Institute’s method for simultaneously sequencing and mapping RNAs within cells and tissues to advance development of diagnostics.
Ancient Eggshell Protein Breaks Through DNA Time Barrier
Fossil proteins from a 3.8million year-old eggshell have been identifed, suggests proteins could give insight into evolutionary tree.
NCI Collaborates with Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
NCI collaborates with MMRF to incorporate genomic and clinical data into NCI Genomic Data Commons database.
New Imaging Technique in Alzheimer’s Disease
Study confirms new imaging technique corresponds a higher degree of actual brain changes.
Designing Drugs with a Whole New Toolbox
Researchers develop methods to design small, targeted proteins with shapes not found in nature.
Antibiotic Resistance Can Occur Naturally in Soil Bacteria
Scientists have found natural anti-biotic resistant bacteria in soils with little to no human exposure.
Protein Studies Discover Molecular Secrets
Two protein studies have mapped proteins that reveal the secrets to recycling carbon and healing cells.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!