The Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe Expands DPN Facility by Adding NanoInk NLP 2000 Nanofabrication Platform
News Sep 09, 2009
Having been the first European facility to use NanoInk’s Dip Pen Nanolithography® (DPN®) technology in 2005, the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (FZK), has recently taken delivery of the first of two new systems to meet the increased user demand.
Located in the Nanomechanics Group of Professor Harald Fuchs, DPN is being used to drive practical applications in the fields of drug discovery, tissue engineering and the early detection of specific diseases. The Centre now offers open access to these instruments through the Karlsruhe NanoMicro Facility (KNMF).
The FZK has developed methods applying DPN for patterning with biological membrane lipids. Phospholipids are important biological molecules that self-assemble under physiological conditions to form the bilayer structure of biological membranes. However, available methods for generating phospholipid arrays on surfaces are severely limited in their lateral resolution. Based on non-covalent adhesion and humidity control of the liquid crystalline phase of the ink, it is possible to use phospholipids as a universal ink for DPN on a variety of substrates. Being able to produce 3D liposome-like structures on a surface allows model cells and membranes to be constructed.
Taken further, DPN’s multiplexing writing with different inks has provided the concept from which combinatorial nanostructure libraries of materials have been successfully developed.
The original platform for DPN was based on an atomic force microscope (AFM). However, for biological experiments, a rapid scale-up system is required to generate hundreds if not thousands of samples for testing to provide the required statistical approach of the biologist. A high powered imaging system was no longer required. This has driven the development of the NanoInk NLP 2000 nanofabrication platform to provide an easy-to-use system with a vastly increased speed of output for the generation of huge phospholipid arrays.
Nanoparticles show great promise as diagnostic tools and drug delivery agents. But until now, most nanoparticles had to be injected into the bloodstream because they weren’t absorbed well orally. Now, researchers have modified nanoparticles to improve their uptake in the gastrointestinal tract.