Faculty Sponsor's Department(s):
Nanotechnology has become an increasingly popular field of study, particularly for its bioanalytical applications. This technology adopts the lab-on-a-chip (LOC) approach which ultimately minimizes the time, cost and effort required for biomolecule analyses to be performed. One major problem with working at such small scales, however, is the difficulty in detecting sample (such as DNA or proteins) at low concentrations. This project focuses on improving one method of sample concentration, Field Amplified Sample Stacking (FASS), in 1um and 100 nm deep fused silica nanochannels. These FASS experiments were performed on a cross-channel geometry chip containing four reservoirs. Voltages were applied to each reservoir, creating an electric field and thus allowing fluid flow due to the resulting electrokinetic forces acting on the fluid. Under the applied electric field, the difference in concentration of fluorescent sample and background buffer causes the sample ions to stack up and concentrate, which improves sample detection. The particular parameters that will be varied to improve the FASS experiments are the buffer types, concentrations and ratios. Different types of fluorescent dyes will also be tested and observed with fluorescent microscopy. Upon finding the best conditions to improve FASS, they will be utilized for experimentation with samples such as DNA and proteins. This will improve the visibility of biomolecule samples in nanochannel experiments that will, eventually, perform DNA fingerprinting (identification) and protein analysis tests.