Tuesday, April 15, 2008

US Patent 7357018 - Nanowire FET probe


In recent years atomic force microscopes have begun using carbon nanotubes as tips in order to achieve inspection of trench structures using the high aspect ratio of CNTs. This patent from Agilent teaches a similar modification of AFM tips which uses a nanowire as the tip and functionalizing the nanowire so that it acts as a gate of a chem-FET. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for performing a measurement inside a specimen, the method comprising:

providing nanoscale FET probe comprising a cantilever element and a nanowire extending from the cantilever element, the nanowire electrically connected to the cantilever element at at least one of the ends of the nanowire;

coating the nanowire along at least part of the length thereof with molecules of a capture agent;

moving the cantilever element to insert the nanowire into the specimen; and

monitoring an electrical property of the nanoscale FET probe to detect binding events between the capture agent molecules and an analyte of interest inside the specimen.