U.S. scientists have developed a new nanoresonator technology that vibrates in the plane.
The tiny vibrating silicon resonators are of intense interest to nanotechnologists for the potential ability to detect bacteria, viruses, DNA and other biological molecules.
Cornell University researchers have now demonstrated a new way to make resonators vibrate in the plane — that is, side to side — to shake off undesired extraneous material.
A typical resonator is a very tiny cantilever that can be made to vibrate up and down. Researchers have shown that, by binding antibodies to such resonators, pathogens will attach to them. At the nanoscale, just adding the mass of one bacterium, virus or large molecule is enough to change the resonant frequency of vibration of the cantilever by a measurable amount, thereby signaling the presence of the pathogen.
But if one were trying to detect, for example, E. coli, there would be more things in the fluid than E. coli, and those items would distort the measurement. That is the problem the new Cornell technology is designed to resolve.