Using lab-on-a-chip technology for DNA detection and analysis is one specific goal many researchers are inching toward. Researchers have now offered a way to align DNA strands to allow for analysis within a nanofluidic channel. The difficulty and cost of creating nanochannels is an impediment, but new research, published in Biomicrofluidics, offers the use a cost-effective material that could garner long term results in DNA analysis.
Nanochannels offer a way to align and analyze long biopolymer molecules such as DNA with high precision at potentially single basepair resolution. In the article "Complementary metal oxide semiconductor compatible fabrication and characterization of parylene-C covered nanofluidic channels with integrated nanoelectrodes," published today in Biomicrofluidics, Chih-kuan Tung, Robert Riehn, and Robert H. Austin, present a novel method of fabricating nanochannels with parylene, while measuring impedance characteristics with 25 nanometer thick electrodes. Parylene-C is a cheap and robust material, which is typically used for coating printed circuit boards as well as stents, defibrillators, pacemakers, and other implanted medical devices.
The researchers believe that this technology will open up opportunities for electronic detection of charged polymers, and that "with techniques to fabricate nanoelectrodes with nanochannels, it should be possible to include integrated electronics with nanofludics, allowing the electronic observation of a single DNA molecule at high spatial resolution."