Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science Technology

Printing With Enzymes 43

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the very-small-writing-on-the-wall dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at Duke University have developed a new printing technique using catalysts to create microdevices such as labs-on-a-chip. Their inkless printing technique uses enzymes from E. coli bacteria and has an accuracy of less than 2 nanometers. While they're are now using enzymes to stamp nanopatterns without ink, the research team is already working with non-enzymatic catalysts. And it added that 'future versions of the inkless technique could be used to build complex nanoscale devices with unprecedented precision.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Printing With Enzymes

Comments Filter:
  • Least accuracy? (Score:2, Informative)

    by melonman (608440)
    Shouldn't that be "resolution of less than 2 nanometers", or maybe "accuracy better than 2 nanometers"?
    • No, as the other poster mentioned, it should be "precision" of less than 2nm. "Resolution" would have to be a lot smaller than 2nm to achieve the same accuracy and precision.
  • by bhima (46039)
    I swear Scientific American had an article on this a few years ago. At least it's been over a year since I let my subscription lapse.
  • E coli (Score:2, Funny)

    by heritage727 (693099)

    enzymes from E. coli bacteria

    What implications does this have for the "my dog ate my homework" excuse?
  • by Sta7ic (819090)
    Real Strogg printers use stroylent, not these watered-down human enzymes. [Quake4]
  • Do they moonlight at the local meat packing warehouse?
  • by pesho (843750) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:12PM (#20814395)
    Yet another scientific story with big claims and little detail. 2nM accuracy sounds a little overstated. First the polyacrylamide gel is elastic. Second they are using fluorescence to see the pattern and this at the very best has resolution of about 300nM. Third they need to generate the pattern on the stamp first and there is no mention in the article what is the accuracy of that. They seem to assume that the accuracy is equal to the DNA diameter.
    • by Jumphard (1079023)
      ^^ Mod this guy up. Exactly my thinking... it does seem suspicious for those exact reasons.

      Doing a simple wiki search on soft lithography yields a resolution of ~30nm. So perhaps that is the limit of this little experiment?
    • by kebes (861706) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:29PM (#20815585) Journal

      Yet another scientific story with big claims and little detail. 2nM accuracy sounds a little overstated.
      Indeed. The news release misses the point of the paper somewhat.

      The actual scientific paper appears to be this one:
      Phillip W. Snyder, Matthew S. Johannes, Briana N. Vogen, Robert L. Clark, and Eric J. Toone, "Biocatalytic Microcontact Printing [acs.org]" J. Org. Chem., 72 (19), 7459 -7461, 2007 DOI: 10.1021/jo0711541 [doi.org]

      Second they are using fluorescence to see the pattern and this at the very best has resolution of about 300nM.
      They use confocal fluorescence which is, as you note, diffraction limited. However for the high-resolution study of the line-edges, they use Atomic Force Microscopy [wikipedia.org] which is of course much higher resolution. The AFM images they show, however, appear to have rather imperfect line-edges, with resolution of >200 nm. Actually, nowhere in the paper do they claim to have demonstrated 2 nm resolution. Rather, they point out in the introduction that their new technique, in principle, could allow higher-resolution printing that conventional soft lithography, because there is no diffusion of reagents in their technique. The news release focuses on this mention of a theoretical 2 nm resolution, rather than pointing out the actual accomplishment of the paper, which in the words of the authors is:

      In conclusion, we have demonstrated the feasibility of biocatalytic lithography. Catalyst-mediated soft lithographic technique offers the advantage of lateral resolution controlled by the range of motion of the immobilized catalyst rather than by the diffusive properties of molecular inks. This feature should facilitate the implementation of strategies for stamping nanoscale features. Further examination of stamping parameters and the application of this methodology to nanolithography are underway, and we will report our results in due course.
      So, in short, it's an important advancement but the authors are not claiming to have achieved the intended ultra-high-resolution yet. And, even without that optimistic resolution, the technique is interesting in its own right because it is a new way to control the nanoscale chemical patterning of surfaces.
    • by Ctrl-Z (28806)
      For the explanation, look no further than: "Roland Piquepaille writes..."
    • I am not contesting your overall knowledge on that area, but nanometer is nm, not nM (M is a SI prefixe, that stands for a 10^6 factor, m is an abreviation for meter). Your usage may be jargon of some knowledge area (or restricted to some geographical area), but is quite confusing.

  • Osama Bin Lexmark (Score:3, Insightful)

    by packetmon (977047) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:12PM (#20814397) Homepage
    Now all we need is for a printer company to get it wrong, and paper to be thrown into our reservoirs... (Water and the Bad E.Coli [montana.edu])

    • "This isn't something you could do on a whim," Camper said. "The risk is low, but it's there." ... What would happen if a pathogen like the bad E. coli-known as the hamburger E. coli for the deaths it caused several years ago at a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant-got into a water system and "interacted" with slime called biofilm? ... To put it a different way, what if colonies of harmless bacteria (called biofilms) that often dwell in water systems, like the bacteria that harmlessly inhabit the human gut, were to trap pathogens and shield them from disinfectants? Could the biofilms become reservoirs for disease? The question isn't a theoretical one. Last year an Ontario city had the bad E. coli (E. coli 0157:H7) in its municipal water system. The military is interested "big time" in what the Montana scientists are trying to develop, said Camper, which is why the MSU Center for Biofilm Engineering has applied for additional funds from the defense organization called DARPA.
    • by glwtta (532858)
      They use E. coli to grow the enzymes, rather than just douse the substrate with it... wait, what? paper?

      You didn't bother trying to read this even one tiny bit before jumping on the first hysteria-inducing buzzword you recognized, did you?
      • by Ajehals (947354)
        Its all about incremental improvements,

        10 years ago everyone thought all 'bacteria' were dangerous to one degree or another, about 5 years we found out that are 'good' bacteria, that they taste fruity and live in drinks and yoghurt's, so now we stay healthy by drinking 'good' bacteria.

        2 Years ago everyone thought E. coli was dangerous under certain circumstances, luckily now we all know that there is 'good' E. coli and 'bad' E. coli, so we can avoid the 'bad' E. coli and not have to worry!.

        Of course now tha
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wizardforce (1005805)
      all Ecoli are not the same, some strains are bad, some are good. The process has virtually no chance of causing any dangerous effects that were not already there from Ecoli strains in the wild. If it really concerns you that Ecoli of any strain got out, a number of safegaurds can and likely will be used. for example, a set of genes for key metabolic processes can be removed making the bacteria completely dependent on the special environment in the printers/labs etc.

      To put it a different way, what if colo

      • by packetmon (977047)
        The problem with bacteria is its ability to adapt - look at the MRSA outbreaks of recent months [google.com]... worth reading [wired.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wizardforce (1005805)
          and this is why you don't put just one safegaurd... you put several in at once- they're going to have to be very creative in their adapting to break this one. then again in the case of these printers, the bacteria at no time actually get near them so it's a non-issue. besides, we already use bacteria to produces enzymes, polypeptides and the like- ask anyone who needs insulin now that we use bacteria to produce it instead of harvesting insulin from the dead. those new color-safe "bleaches" use enzymes de
  • > Researchers at Duke University have developed a new printing technique using catalysts
    > to create microdevices such as labs-on-a-chip. Their inkless printing technique uses
    > enzymes from E. coli bacteria and has an accuracy of less than 2 nanometers. While they're
    > are now using enzymes to stamp nanopatterns without ink, the research team is already
    > working with non-enzymatic catalysts. And it added that 'future versions of the inkless
    > technique could be used to build complex nanoscale
  • by mc moss (1163007) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:18PM (#20814481)
    I bet a cartridge of enzymes would still be cheaper than ink that printer companies sell us.
  • Really, come now... Is there anyone reading /. that still uses paper as a communiation medium? When I got my present office I told them to rip out all the file cabinets... "What is it with this archaic desk?" said I. Keyboard and chair is all I need.

    Family pictures?? That's what a digital-picture frame is for, duh!

    --
    X's and O's for all my foes.
  • Dot's all! (Score:2, Informative)

    by kanweg (771128)
    They can create a dot (circular area) with a diameter of 2 nm. That is the area an enzyme dangling from a linker (tether) can reach. It is not that they can create anything other than a dot, not that they can put purposively 2 dots at a distance of 2 nm from each other, or that they can add material (such as a metal capable of functioning as a conductor) on the surface. Really nice experiment, but don't buy shares unless you're a long-term investor.

    Bert
  • Memes (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by krgallagher (743575)
    I for one welcome our mind reading computer overlords.
  • What it appears they did is create a "field" of single-strand DNA "grass". Then they tethered an enzyme "cow" to a point in the field. The "cow" ate all the "grass" it could reach, creating a visible dot. Unfortunately, they do not yet know how to move the cow so it doesn't starve after that.
  • The printer costs $200. The printer cartridges cost $2 million dollars. :)
  • Stanford researchers have developed a much much sharper arrowhead for arrows (for use with a better long bow developed by Edinburgh Univ. engineers); an Isreali thinktank has applied the technique and developed a pencil that never needs sharpening; Fuji has purchased the patent rights to a new chemical bath process that makes monochrome film prints even glossier; and Kotex has released a much more reliable, silicon based IUD.

    --
    Any sufficiently outdated or irrelivant technology is indistnguishable from a pap
  • I can get my name on a grain of rice!

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

Working...