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November 18, 2008

Nanofabricated Silicon Pillars

Nanofabricated Silicon Pillars

Nanofabricated silicon pillars used for nucleic acid purification. The Si pillars are 10um x 10um x 50um tall and are coated in 100nm of Si02. The pillars were created using photolithography and dry reactive ion etching to achieve the high aspect ratio. The design incorporates pillars into a 200um-wide-channel, effectively increasing the surface area of the channel for nucleic acid purification.

Nucleic acids such as DNA are purified in these channels by mixing DNA with chaotropic salt-containing buffers. Under these conditions, DNA binds to the Si02 on the surface of the pillars, while unwanted materials such as proteins, lipids and other cell debris are removed. The DNA can then be released by the addition of water and can be analyzed using techniques such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). These purification channels are incorporated into an integrated microfluidic chip capable of performing DNA purification and real-time PCR. Specific DNA sequences can be detected with this system, making it possible to identify pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

This work was performed in part at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF), a member of the National Nanofabrication Users Network that is supported by the National Science Foundation (grant ECS 97-31293), its users, Cornell University, and industrial affiliates. (Date of Image: June 1, 2003)

Credit: Courtesy N.C. Cady, G. A. Batt and Dennis Kunkel

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