Tuesday, December 28, 2010

US Patent 7857956 - Nanotube controlled dielectrophoresis


Dielectrophoresis is a method commonly used in microfluidics which uses AC electric fields to manipulate biomaterials. This patent from the Regents of the University of California takes this to the nanoscale by using carbon nanotubes as the electrodes generating the AC fields. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of dielectrophoretically manipulating a polarizable object with elongated nanoelectrodes, comprising:

positioning a polarizable object in proximity with a first and a second elongated nanoelectrode, wherein said first elongated nanoelectrode is cylindrically shaped and comprises at least one nanotube; and

applying a time-varying electric field between the first and second nanoelectrodes, the field being sufficient to manipulate the polarizable object.