This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Next Generation: Sneaking into a Cell

A nanoscale device measures electrical signals inside cells without causing damage.

A false color SEM image of the BIT-FET overlaid with an image of a cluster of cardiomyocyte cells, illustrating how intracellular action potentials are recorded by the device

THE DEVICE: It is not easy to record the electrical signals that pass fleetingly through neurons and cardiomyocytes. But with a novel nanoscale device developed by Charles Lieber and colleagues at Harvard University, scientists can record these action potentials without damaging cells and even probe sub-cellular structures like dendrites, according to a report published last month (December 18) in Nature Nanotechnology.

The branched intracellular nanotube field-effect transistor, or BIT-FET, joins a nanowire and a nanotube into a slim T-shaped structure that can be inserted into a cell up to five times in the same place without disrupting the action potential or damaging the cell. The tiny hollow nanotube, 50-100 nanometers wide, penetrates the cell, sucking up a bit of the cytosol as it enters. This cytosol comes in contact with the nanowire outside the cell, and when a voltage is applied to the nanowire, it operates as a transistor and detects the electrical signals passing through the cell.

Read more



Analysis: Why it’s irrational to risk...

Peter Singer - The Scotsman Comments

Analysis: Why it’s irrational to risk women’s lives for the sake of the unborn

Jumping Genes a Cause of Cancer?

Ruth Williams - TheScientist Comments

Double helix showing coplanar alignment of standard base pairs.

A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity

CLAUDIA DREIFUS - New York Times 15 Comments

Carson C. Chow deploys mathematics to solve the everyday problems of real life. As an investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, he tries to figure out why 1 in 3 Americans are obese.

Cocaine decreases activity of a protein...

- - MedicalXpress 27 Comments

Cocaine decreases activity of a protein necessary for normal functioning of the brain's reward system

Neurons Mirror the Diametric Mind

Christopher Badcock, Ph.D -... 3 Comments

Neurons Mirror the Diametric Mind

Schizophrenics amplify neuronal mirroring, autistics reduce it

How thinking about death can lead to a...

- - MedicalXpress 11 Comments

How thinking about death can lead to a good life
Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking about death – say walking by a cemetery – could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.



SNAREs at the Synapse

Megan Scudellari - TheScientist Comments

Using tiny lipid discs, scientists resolve contradictory evidence about how many proteins are required for neurotransmitter release.

Let Them Eat Dirt

Megan Scudellari - The Scientist 25 Comments

Let Them Eat DirtEarly exposure to microbes shapes the mammalian immune system by subduing inflammatory T cells.

Amoeba agriculture

Megan Scudellari - TheScientist 22 Comments

Some slime molds transport and farm the bacteria they eat



Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment