Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 393, Issue 4, pp 1217–1224 | Cite as

Size selective sampling using mobile, 3D nanoporous membranes

  • Christina L. Randall
  • Aubri Gillespie
  • Siddarth Singh
  • Timothy G. Leong
  • David H. Gracias
Short Communication


We describe the fabrication of 3D membranes with precisely patterned surface nanoporosity and their utilization in size selective sampling. The membranes were self-assembled as porous cubes from lithographically fabricated 2D templates (Leong et al., Langmuir 23:8747–8751, 2007) with face dimensions of 200 μm, volumes of 8 nL, and monodisperse pores ranging in size from approximately 10 μm to 100 nm. As opposed to conventional sampling and filtration schemes where fluid is moved across a static membrane, we demonstrate sampling by instead moving the 3D nanoporous membrane through the fluid. This new scheme allows for straightforward sampling in small volumes, with little to no loss. Membranes with five porous faces and one open face were moved through fluids to sample and retain nanoscale beads and cells based on pore size. Additionally, cells retained within the membranes were subsequently cultured and multiplied using standard cell culture protocols upon retrieval.


Microfluidics/Microfabrication Nanoparticles/Nanotechnology Separations/Instrumentation Bioanalytical methods 



This work was supported by the NIH Grant: R21EB007487-01A1 and the NSF Grant MRSEC DMR05-20491. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies. We acknowledge Anum Azam for her illustration.

Supplementary material

216_2008_2538_MOESM1_ESM.avi (5.8 mb)
ESM 1 Movie clip showing autonomous motion of a Pt-coated membrane in a peroxide solution. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at (AVI 6049 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina L. Randall
    • 1
  • Aubri Gillespie
    • 1
  • Siddarth Singh
    • 2
  • Timothy G. Leong
    • 2
  • David H. Gracias
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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