Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 396, Issue 1, pp 133–138 | Cite as

Atomic-force-controlled capillary electrophoretic nanoprinting of proteins

  • Yulia Lovsky
  • Aaron LewisEmail author
  • Chaim Sukenik
  • Eli Grushka
Original Paper


The general nanoprinting and nanoinjection of proteins on non-conducting or conducting substrates with a high degree of control both in terms of positional and timing accuracy is an important goal that could impact diverse fields from biotechnology (protein chips) to molecular electronics and from fundamental studies in cell biology to nanophotonics. In this paper, we combine capillary electrophoresis (CE), a separation method with considerable control of protein movement, with the unparalleled positional accuracy of an atomic force microscope (AFM). This combination provides the ability to electrophoretically or electroosmotically correlate the timing of protein migration with AFM control of the protein deposition at a high concentration in defined locations and highly confined volumes estimated to be 2 al. Electrical control of bovine serum albumin printing on standard protein-spotting glass substrates is demonstrated. For this advance, fountain pen nanolithography (FPN) that uses cantilevered glass-tapered capillaries is amended with the placement of electrodes on the nanopipette itself. This results in imposed voltages that are three orders of magnitude less than what is normally used in capillary electrophoresis. The development of atomic-force-controlled capillary electrophoretic printing (ACCEP) has the potential for electrophoretic separation, with high resolution, both in time and in space. The large voltage drop at the tip of the tapered nanopipettes allows for significant increases in concentration of protein in the small printed volumes. All of these attributes combine to suggest that this methodology should have a significant impact in science and technology.


Diagrammatic representation of the atomic-force-controlled electrophoretic nanoprinting (ACCEP) process, (on left). The combination of capillary electrophoresis with the unparalleled positional accuracy of an atomic force microscope allows for highly controlled nanoprinting of the fluorescently labelled protein bovine serum albumin on a non-conducting substrate (on right)


AFM (atomic force microscopy) Capillary electrophoresis Electrophoresis Nanoparticles Nanotechnology 



The authors would like to thank the Nanonics Imaging LTD. team and especially Sonia Kokotov for preparing the nanopipettes for the experiments. We are also indebted to Mila Palchan for general and excellent support during the course of this work. We also would like to thank the US–Israel Binational Foundation and Israel Academy of Science for support of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yulia Lovsky
    • 1
  • Aaron Lewis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chaim Sukenik
    • 3
  • Eli Grushka
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Physics, Selim and Rachel Benin School of Engineering and Computer ScienceThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Inorganic & Analytical ChemistryThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryBar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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