Project Overview

NIRT: Active Nanophotofluidic Systems for Single Molecule/Particle Analysis

# 0708599
David Erickson (Principal Investigator)
Kara Bren (Co-Principal Investigator)
Michal Lipson (Co-Principal Investigator)
Todd Krauss (Co-Principal Investigator)

This NSF-NIRT award is centered around the active integration of nanophotonics, nanofluidics, nanomaterials and single molecule physics into a new field, refered herein as ''Nanophotofluidics''. The assembled team consists of researchers from Cornell University and the University of Rochester bringing distinct individual expertise to form the integrated, multidisciplinary research program to exploit the extremely high optical intensities achievable in our newly developed 50nm wide exposed mode ?slot waveguides? to perform optofluidic tweezing and propulsion (by exploiting polarization and scattering/adsorption forces) and demonstrate a series of new active nanoscopic single molecule and multi-particle analytical tools.

Intellectual Merit: This program is divided into three focused research areas: 1) develop a better fundamental understanding of the coupling of electromagnetics and hydrodynamics on the nanoscale to demonstrate the core elements of a broader nanophotofluidic transport architecture, 2) demonstrate the most resolute separation mechanism developed to date, and 3) develop a new mechanism for investigating single protein folding dynamics in solution.

Broader Impacts: Integrating photonic elements as active components in micro- and nano-fluidic devices represents a largely unexplored area that could have significant impact that could be extended into a broad new class of photonically driven microfluidic devices where rapid, network based particle manipulation is performed using the high-speed components already developed by the telecommunications industry. Such platforms may find application in emerging fields such as nano-assembly (offering all the advantages of optical tweezing but more rapidly and with sub-wavelength precision). A fundamental part of this program is an outreach and education strategy consisting of: 1) The development of a series of integrated educational units distributed to K-12 classrooms nationwide through the Cornell Main Street Science program and 2) An interdisciplinary nanoscience and engineering seminar series for the upstate New York area. This seminar series will attract attendees from both universities as well as undergraduate institutions in upstate New York. The talks will also be posted on a dedicated website for download. Students from the target institutions will also be given the opportunity to post questions on a dedicated website which will be answered directly by the speaker or the PIs.

Source: NSF