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NUANCE research featured in Nature Nanotechnology

Dr. Gajendra Shekhawat, Research Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University and Professor Vinayak Dravid, Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University; Director, NUANCE, published an article in Nature Nanotechnolog titled "Arrays of microcantilevers that have been coated with a specific oligonucleotide can be used to detect malignant melanoma".


Nanomechanical Sensors: Bent on Detecting Cancer

Microcantilevers can be used to detect (and weigh) small structures and, if the cantilevers are small enough, single molecules. In one approach to such sensors,molecules are detected by monitoring the change in the resonance frequency of an oscillating cantilever when the molecules adsorb on its surface. Alternatively, molecules can be detected through the formation of surface stress on the cantilever due to molecular-binding events. In this case, receptor molecules are attached to one side of the cantilever beams and the cantilevers bend in response to the binding of analyte molecules to the receptors. This bending is due to the fact that analyte–receptor binding is driven by a reduction in free energy. The decrease in free-energy density on one side of the cantilever creates a change in surface tension (stress) and a differential bending moment that leads to the cantilever bending to relieve stress.

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