Department Seminar by Dr. Selim Hanay

Single-Molecule Mass Sensing with Nanomechanical Systems

Dr. Selim Hanay, California Institute of Technology

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Time: 10:00
Place: EA 409 Seminar Room

Nanoelectromechanical Systems (NEMS) can detect inertial mass with exceptional sensitivity. We have used NEMS devices to realize a new method for single-molecule mass spectrometry (weighing and label-free characterization of individual molecules). In our first-generation approach, single-molecule measurements from several hundred adsorption events were assembled into mass spectra using statistical analysis. Our second-generation approach now enables NEMS-based mass spectrometry (MS) of single molecules in real time: as each molecule in the sample adsorbs upon the NEMS resonator, its mass and position-of-adsorption are determined by simultaneously exciting and tracking two vibrational modes of the NEMS structure. We demonstrate the potential of this method by analyzing individual IgM antibody complexes and other biological analytes in real-time. NEMS-MS is a unique and promising new form of mass spectrometry: it can resolve neutral species, provides resolving power that increases markedly for very large masses, is readily scalable to millions of channels, and is producible en masse by methods from the semiconductor industry for very-large-scale integration. Further, we have developed a novel, mechanical sensing technique that enables the imaging of single molecules adsorbed by a NEMS device.

About the Speaker:

Selim Hanay is a member of the scientific staff of the Physics Department at Caltech. He received his BS degree in Microelectronic Engineering from Sabanci University in 2003. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Physics from Caltech, working in the Nanoscale Systems group of Prof. Michael Roukes, in 2011. He worked in the same department as a post-doctoral researcher before joining the scientific staff.  His main research focus has been developing single-molecule mass spectrometry using nanomechanical resonators.

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