Amorphous carbon nanotools for cell surgery

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Amorphous carbon nanotools for cell surgery

J.D. Beard, D.J. Burbridge, O. Dudko, A.V. Moskalenko and S.N. Gordeev,
Department of Physics, University of Bath
Bath BA2 7AY, UK

Using a method of electron-beam induced deposition (EBID) of amorphous carbon, we have been able to fabricate free-standing nanostructures at the apex of Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) probes [1]. A variety of shapes has been obtained using this technique including 'nanoscalpels' and 'nanoneedles' (see Figure 1). We performed detailed mechanical tests of the fabricated nanotools and found that, for example, nanoscalpels are hard enough for a single cut to penetrate a 45 nm thick gold layer; and thus can be used for making narrow electrode gaps required for fabrication of nanoelectronic devices or as a nanosurgical tool in cell biology [2].

The EBID fabricated nanoneedles have cylindrical shape with hemispherical apex and diameters in the range of 18-100nm. We found that they are resistant to breaking and recover elastically even after large deformations (i.e. vertical deformations up to 60% of the needle length) [3]. To explore the capabilities of these nanotools, corneocytes isolated from human skin, were indented. We found that nanoneedle probes can penetrate to large depths within cells and can be used for "mechanical tomography" of cells, e.g. to measure profiles of the variation with depth in intracellular elasticity and viscosity.

Figure 1. 'Nanoscalpel' (a) and 'nanoneedle' (b) fabricated on AFM probes.

[1] J.D. Beard, S.N. Gordeev, R.H. Guy. J. Physics: Conf. Series 286 (2011) 012003.
[2] J. D. Beard, D. J .Burbridge, A. V. Moskalenko, O. Dudko, P. L. Yarova, S. V.
Smirnov, S. N. Gordeev. Nanotechnology 20 (2009) 445302.
[3] J D Beard, S N Gordeev. Nanotechnology 22 (2011) 175303.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventElectrochem 2011 - Bath
Duration: 5 Sep 20116 Sep 2011


ConferenceElectrochem 2011

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    Gordeev, S. (2011). Amorphous carbon nanotools for cell surgery. Abstract from Electrochem 2011, Bath, .