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Nanotechnology. 2013 May 10;24(18):185502. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/24/18/185502. Epub 2013 Apr 11.

Nanotip analysis for dielectrophoretic concentration of nanosized viral particles.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Rapid and sensitive detection of low-abundance viral particles is strongly demanded in health care, environmental control, military defense, and homeland security. Current detection methods, however, lack either assay speed or sensitivity, mainly due to the nanosized viral particles. In this paper, we compare a dendritic, multi-terminal nanotip ('dendritic nanotip') with a single terminal nanotip ('single nanotip') for dielectrophoretic (DEP) concentration of viral particles. The numerical computation studies the concentration efficiency of viral particles ranging from 25 to 100 nm in radius for both nanotips. With DEP and Brownian motion considered, when the particle radius decreases by two times, the concentration time for both nanotips increases by 4-5 times. In the computational study, a dendritic nanotip shows about 1.5 times faster concentration than a single nanotip for the viral particles because the dendritic structure increases the DEP-effective area to overcome the Brownian motion. For the qualitative support of the numerical results, the comparison experiment of a dendritic nanotip and a single nanotip is conducted. Under 1 min of concentration time, a dendritic nanotip shows a higher sensitivity than a single nanotip. When the concentration time is 5 min, the sensitivity of a dendritic nanotip for T7 phage is 10(4) particles ml(-1). The dendritic nanotip-based concentrator has the potential for rapid identification of viral particles.

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