Microscopy, molecular scale devices, and new tools for biomedical diagnosis.
This technology will revolutionize microscopy techniques for single molecule characterization, which until now have been thwarted by short observation dwell times in solution and the necessity for surface immobilization.
This invention provides a method of controlled and reversible trapping of charged micro- and nanoscale particles or single molecules (e.g., DNA) with an electrostatic device. This corral trap can confine single molecules in their native solution environment over controlled periods of time (e.g., hours) allowing for precise manipulation and observation. With these traps, the inventors have successfully manipulated charged polystyrene microspheres with a 2μm diameter, nanospheres with a diameter of 21 nm, and single molecules of 800 nucleotide single-stranded DNA. The inventors have also developed an algorithm and software for automated trapping that is linked to images acquired by a microscope camera.