Tuesday, June 05, 2012

US Patent 8192998 - Nucleic acid analysis via nanowire electrical measurements


This patent teaches a way to use nanowire conductors as a probe to analyze nucleic acids for applications including clinical diagnostics and therapeutics, forensics, and analysis of bio-terrorism agents. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of analyzing a nucleic acid, comprising:

coupling a semiconductor nanowire to a nucleic acid analyte to form a nanowire assembly, the nanowire coupled to first and second electrodes;

inducing a current through the nanowire assembly;

contacting the nanowire assembly with at least one reagent, wherein the reagent covalently modifies the nucleic acid analyte based on the nucleic acid's structure;

measuring an electrical characteristic of the nanowire assembly to determine whether the at least one reagent produced a covalent modification of the nanowire assembly; and

providing structural information about the nucleic acid analyte.