April 28, 2004

Very cool nano-technology application

Back40 at CrumbTrail has a link to a very interesting application of nano-technology. From EurekAlert: bq. "As everyone knows," says Kiely, "normal bulk gold is shiny, it is gold in color, it is inert, and it conducts electricity. bq. "If, however, you shrink gold down to a nanoparticle, its properties change dramatically. Its color changes, it becomes a very good catalyst, and is no longer a metal - instead it turns into a semiconductor." And the application that Back40 was talking about? Here is another EurekAlert article: bq. Since the advent of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nearly 20 years ago, scientists have been trying to overturn this method for analyzing DNA with something better. The "holy grail" in this quest is a simple method that could be used for point-of-care medical diagnostics, such as in the doctor's office or on the battlefield. And more: bq. The new selective and ultra-sensitive technology, which is based on gold nanoparticles and DNA, is easier to use, considerably faster, more accurate and less expensive than PCR, making it a leading candidate for use in point-of-care diagnostics. The method, called bio-bar-code amplification (BCA), can test a small sample and quickly deliver an accurate result. BCA also can scan a sample for many different disease targets simultaneously. And more: bq. "For each molecule of captured target DNA, thousands of bar-code DNA strands are released, which is a powerful way of amplifying the signal for a DNA target of interest, such as anthrax," said Mirkin, also George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry. "There is power in its simplicity." bq. The technology could be commercially available for certain diseases in one year, Mirkin said. Posted by DaveH at April 28, 2004 9:59 AM