Tuesday, February 13, 2007

US Patent 7175762 - Nanocarpet bacteria trap


This invention from CalTech exploits the use of vertical nanotube arrays as actuators to trap bacteria, spores or other microscale biomatter for later analysis. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanotrap comprising: a substrate; and a plurality of densely packed self-assembled nanofeatures disposed on said substrate, each of said nanofeatures having first and second ends, wherein each of said first ends are independently attached to said substrate, and wherein the nanofeatures are at least 10 microns long such that said second ends are curled and randomly oriented above said substrate to create a collective Van der Waals force capable of attracting and trapping particulates; and a voltage source having a controllably oscillating polarity in independent and direct electrical communication with each of said nanofeatures such that application of the oscillating polarity of a voltage from the voltage source to the nanofeatures induces said plurality of nanofeatures to contract and expand to produce an electromechanical actuation of the Plurality of nanofeatures to dislodge any trapped particulates within said nanotrap.

Labels: ,