Press release: A new type of nano-sensor detects DNA building blocks
Researchers from Uppsala University and Brazil have developed a new type of nano-sensor that can detect single molecules. The nano-sensor, comprising a combination of two different materials, has been used to identify the different building blocks in DNA.
What is really groundbreaking about this study is that it succeeded to combine in the same two-dimensional material the two substances graphene, which is electrically conductive, and boron nitride, which is insulating. Previously, these two substances have so far only been used separately in an attempt to detect molecules.
The detection of individual molecules is of great importance in medicine and health care, but currently available methods are generally too complicated and overly expensive to be used widely.
The study has applied the nano-sensor to detect the four naturally occurring nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA, and thus discovered a new quick and inexpensive way to sequence DNA by measuring an electric current.
In computer simulations, a little hole, called a nanopore, was created at the interface between the two substances, and a small chain of electrically conductive material thus formed between the nanopore and the insulating boron nitride. When molecules move through the hole, the electric potential of the chain is modulated and the conductivity of the material is therefore affected. By measuring the electric current in the material, the molecules can be identified through their characteristic dipole moment.
The study also included hydrogen fluoride, a small molecule with a large electric dipole moment, which is an ideal model system to get a better understanding of how the nano-sensor can detect the larger and more complex molecules.
“Computer simulations were carried out in vacuum, and the molecules were fixed relative to the carbon chain and nanopore. In future studies, we want to examine the dynamic aspects of the system. It will be exciting, for example, to see how the sensors react to water”, says Ralph Scheicher, assistant professor in materials theory at the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Ralph Scheicher, assistant professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 18-471 5873
Available Position: Ph.D. position in Ultrafast Condensed Matter Experiments
Available Position: 1:e forskningsingenjör för uppbyggnad av experimentella system
Press release: New method enables high-resolution measurements of magnetism
In a new article, published in Nature Materials, researchers from Beijing, Uppsala and Jülich have made significant progress allowing very high resolution magnetic measurements. With their method it is possible to measure magnetism of individual atomic planes.
Available Position: Ph.D. position in Condensed Matter Theory
Available Position: Researcher position in theoretical materials design
Research: Ultra Fast Change of Volume Discovered in Magnetic Materials
All magnetic materials show a change of volume if their magnetization changes, but how the process takes place on the shortest time scales is still a mystery. To understand how magnetic changes of volume occur inside the femtosecond range (10-15s) one needs both new measurement methods and novel theories. An international collaboration of both experimental and theoretical research groups has now managed to come a step closer to the solution of this riddle.
Available Position: Position as PhD Student in Physics Regarding First-principles Studies of Energy Storage Materials
Available Position: Postdoc position in solid state theory/materials theory
Research Funding: Grants for renewable-energy research
The Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Energy Agency are collaborating in an initiative to provide project grants for energy-oriented basic research. Which projects to fund in the 2017 call for applications has now been decided. Uppsala University is receiving grants for four projects.
Research: On the hunt for new and peculiar superconductors
Annica Black-Schaffer wants to understand unconventional superconductors. The fact that she recently received the prestigious ERC Starting Grant and is a former recipient of grants from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is a testament to the interest in her research. One beckoning application is tomorrow’s supercomputers.
Research: Measuring magnetism in 3D
A team of researchers from Uppsala University, China and Germany have substantially extended the possibilities of an experimental technique called EMCD, that is used for measuring magnetism in materials. The results were published in Nature Communications on May 15 2017.