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Nanopost Arrays Anchor Molecules, Improve Ion Yields for Laser Mass Spectrometry

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Scanning electron microscope image of a NAPA with a post height of 1000nm, post diameter of 200nm, and periodicity of 500nm
Scanning electron microscope image of a NAPA with a post height of 1000nm, post diameter of 200nm, and periodicity of 500nm

Technology Marketing SummarySilicon nanopost arrays (NAPA) in a broad range of geometries are being developed at ORNL. These can be used as matrices to detect and analyze molecules by laser mass spectrometry: A matrix of nanoposts protects the biomolecule from beam damage and facilitates the vaporization and ionization needed in mass spectrometry. The nanofabricated arrays also provide improved laser ionization yields, so that the molecular samples deposited on them can be detected and identified with great selectivity and sensitivity.DescriptionNanostructured surfaces, particularly with features that have dimensions matching the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation, exhibit unique optical properties via laser mass spectrometry. Biomolecules such as proteins, peptides, and sugars, as well as large organic polymers, dendrimers, and other macromolecules, tend to be fragile and to fragment when ionized by more conventional methods. Ion yields from existing methods exhibit spontaneous fluctuations that can only be controlled by adjusting the energy delivered to the surface.

In the ORNL method, a computer-assisted design generates a nanopost array pattern that is written onto a substrate. The NAPA can be grown to the precise size required. A biological or environmental sample is placed on the array and the array is adapted to work with a pulsed laser with a specific wavelength. Optics based on lenses, mirrors, or a sharpened optical fiber are used to direct the laser radiation at the posts and the target molecules. A mass spectrometer then analyzes and detects ions from the sample that are directly released by the arrays.
Benefits• Provide improved laser ionization yields and controllable fragmentation with switching capabilities for detection and identification of samples deposited on them
• Can be produced in a wide array of geometries with high accuracy
Applications and Industries• For biological research and monitoring of environmental conditions
• Nanopost arrays with specific geometries are used to anchor and protect proteins, peptides, sugars, polymers, and dendrimers so they can be analyzed selectively and with great sensitivity by laser mass spectrometry.
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Application 20100323917
Application
20100323917
TAILORED NANOPOST ARRAYS (NAPA) FOR LASER DESORPTION IONIZATION IN MASS SPECTROMETRY
The production and use of semiconducting nanopost arrays made by nanofabrication is described herein. These nanopost arrays (NAPA) provide improved laser ionization yields and controllable fragmentation with switching or modulation capabilities for mass spectrometric detection and identification of samples deposited on them.
04/07/2010
Filed
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200902284DevelopmentAvailable10/04/201110/04/2011

Contact ORNL About This Technology

To: Nestor Fronco<francone@ornl.gov>