Thursday, June 18, 2009

US Patent 7547881 - Nanowire electron scattering spectroscopy

Nanotubes and nanowires offer enhanced sensitivity in molecular detectors but often require functionalization of the nanotube or nanowire surfaces to tailor the sensor to a particular molecular structure to be detected which can make manufacture more difficult. This patent from the California Institute of Technology instead teaches using an analysis of vibrational energy modes from molecules bound to nanowires as a basis for the detection. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for spectroscopic identification of molecules, comprising:

providing a nanoscale wire;

injecting electrons into the nanoscale wire; and

measuring inelastic electron scattering via excitation of low-lying vibrational energy levels of molecules bound to the nanoscale wire.