Letter | Published:

Tuneable elastomeric nanochannels for nanofluidic manipulation

Nature Materials volume 6, pages 424428 (2007) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Fluidic transport through nanochannels offers new opportunities to probe fundamental nanoscale transport phenomena1,2,3,4,5 and to develop tools for manipulating DNA6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, proteins17,18, small molecules19,20 and nanoparticles21,22. The small size of nanofabricated devices and the accompanying increase in the effect of surface forces23,24, however, pose challenges in designing and fabricating flexible nanofluidic systems that can dynamically adjust their transport characteristics according to the handling needs of various molecules and nanoparticles. Here, we describe the use of nanoscale fracturing of oxidized poly(dimethylsiloxane) to conveniently fabricate nanofluidic systems with arrays of nanochannels that can actively manipulate nanofluidic transport through dynamic modulation of the channel cross-section. We present the design parameters for engineering material properties and channel geometry to achieve reversible nanochannel deformation using remarkably small forces. We demonstrate the versatility of the elastomeric nanochannels through tuneable sieving and trapping of nanoparticles, dynamic manipulation of the conformation of single DNA molecules and in situ photofabrication of movable polymeric nanostructures.

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Acknowledgements

We thank M. Mayer for comments on the manuscript, N. Futai for assistance in electrical resistance measurements, J. H. Bahng for help with channel fabrication and K. E. Sung for preparing DNA samples. We thank K. Naruse for the mechanical stretcher device. This work was supported by NSF, NIH and the NASA BioScience and Engineering Institute. D.H. acknowledges a Horace H. Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship from the University of Michigan.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2200 Bonisteel Blvd, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2099, USA

    • Dongeun Huh
    • , Xiaoyue Zhu
    • , Mark A. Burns
    •  & Shuichi Takayama
  2. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2350 Hayward St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2125, USA

    • K. L. Mills
    •  & M. D. Thouless
  3. Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2300 Hayward St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2136, USA

    • Mark A. Burns
  4. Macromolecular Science and Engineering Center, University of Michigan, 2300 Hayward St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA

    • Shuichi Takayama

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Contributions

D.H. designed and fabricated the nanochannel systems, carried out the experiments, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. K.L.M. conducted numerical simulations of nanochannel closure and helped to write the paragraphs describing the simulation results. X.Y.Z. helped to take AFM measurements of nanochannel cross-sections. M.A.B. helped to plan DNA stretching experiments and provided DNA samples. M.D.T. helped to design the simulation studies, interpreted simulation results and edited the manuscript. S.T. designed the project and edited the manuscript. All authors commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shuichi Takayama.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat1907

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