Dr. Bau’s current research interests are in nano and macro-fluidics and electrokinetics with applications in biology and medicine. His group has developed means for the directed positioning of individual molecules and the study of their mechanical and electrical properties; carbon nanopipe-based devices for cell surgery (funded, in part, by the NTI); and components for and fully integrated laboratories on chips for biological studies and disease detection at the point of care.
Carbon-Based Nanopipettes as Cellular Probes: The core group is developing unique, integrated probes that consist of a macroscopic handle made with a standard glass capillary terminating with a carbon nanopipe with a diameter ranging from tens to hundreds of nanometers and a length ranging from microns to tens of microns.
The probe is hollow, facilitating fluid flow through its bore, and electrically conducting, facilitating electrical measurements through its carbon lining. The probe can be used to inject various reagents into cells and to monitor cell membrane potential without causing any harm to the cell. The probe’s tip can be functionalized with proteins, oligonucleotides and nanoparticles. In addition to having superb mechanical properties, the probes are unique in their multifunctional capabilities, allowing for concurrent injection and electrical detection. Although the probes can be used for various applications, the group’s effort currently focuses on cell biology.
For more information about the Cellular Probes core program please visit their website.
Why Is Small So Big?
Nanotechnology deals with products and processes that are measured in almost unbelievably small increments called “nanometers”—one billionth of a meter.
At the nanoscale, materials differ from larger objects in their physical, chemical and biological properties; therefore, they lend themselves to new and improved materials, systems and devices. Nanotechnology is behind the development of such diverse advancements as:
- Drug Delivery
- Biofiltration and Separation sciences
- Improved coatings for medical devices
Thanks to rapid advances in this exciting new field, we now have the tools and talents to manipulate materials on the molecular scale—a technology literally changing the world as we know it.