Project Overview

EPDT: Nano-scale Light Emitting Diode on Silicon Cantilever for Near-field Microscopy of Nanovectors Biodistribution in Tissues and Living Cells

# 0725886
Xiaojing Zhang (Principal Investigator)
Mauro Ferrari (Co-Principal Investigator)
Ming-Cheng Cheng (Co-Principal Investigator)

The objective of this research is to characterize the distribution of multi-stage combinatorial directed nanovectors in tissues and living cells for tumor characterization and destruction. The approach is to develop a novel near-field scanning probe with sub-diffraction-limit resolution by directly fabricating nanometer sized light source on patterned silicon probe tip, and to use the probe to identify the molecular signatures of breast tumors.

Intellectual Merit: The key technology involves using patterned SOI wafer to create a nanoscale light source on the tip of a MEMS fabricated probe. The light source will be made between a pair of silicon electrodes located on the tip, through electrostatically trapping semiconductor nanoparticles (CdSe/ZnS). The expected optical aperture size is ~10 nm, an order of magnitude reduction from that of an advanced NSOM, which enables high resolution imaging of multimolecular complexes on living cells. The self-illuminating scanning probe can be batch fabricated in an array format, with the potential for electronics integration.

Broader Impacts: The proposed architecture will be extendable to imaging the development mechanics of other sub-cellular structures. Understanding development at cellular level is essential for understanding of human diseases caused by defects and errors in development and differentiation pathways. A Texas-wide interdisciplinary collaboration in biomedical engineering research and education has recently been initiated. This proposal reflects the inter-institutional goal to conduct cutting-edge research to advance the field of micro-nano scale photonics and MEMS for novel biomedical imaging, to provide outstanding teaching for students, and to attract minority especially Hispanic students into engineering professions.

Source: NSF