Molecular and Nanoscale Physics

The Possibilities are endless

10 October 2014

New study demonstrates how stable ‘lipid membranes’ – the thin ‘skin’ that surrounds all biological cells – can be applied to synthetic surfaces.

Professor Steve Evans and George Heath (PhD student) from the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics Group, in the School of Physics and Astronomy, at the University of Leeds have taken a crucial step forward in bio-nanotechnology, a field that uses biology to develop new tools for science, technology and medicine. Their study published today in the journal Nano Letters explains how their new technique can use these lipid membranes to ‘draw’ – akin to using them like a biological ink – with a resolution of 6 nanometres (6 billionths of a meter), which is much smaller than scientists had previously thought was possible.

“This is smaller than the active elements of the most advanced silicon chips and promises the ability to position functional biological molecules – such as those involved in taste, smell, and other sensory roles – with high precision, to create novel hybrid bio-electronic devices,” said Professor Steve Evans, from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds and a co-author of the paper.

See the full press release here

The full study which features in Nano Letters can be viewed here