Atomic-force-controlled capillary electrophoretic nanoprinting of proteins
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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.
KeywordsAFM (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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