Electrically excitable normal rat kidney fibroblasts: A new model system for cell-semiconductor hybrids.
In testing various designs of cell-semiconductor hybrids, the choice of a suitable type of electrically excitable cell is crucial. Here normal rat kidney (NRK) fibroblasts are presented as a cell line, easily maintained in culture, that may substitute for heart or nerve cells in many experiments. Like heart muscle cells, NRK fibroblasts form electrically coupled confluent cell layers, in which propagating action potentials are spontaneously generated. These, however, are not associated with mechanical disturbances. Here we compare heart muscle cells and NRK fibroblasts with respect to action potential waveform, morphology, and substrate adhesion profile, using the whole-cell variant of the patch-clamp technique, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and reflection interference contrast microscopy (RICM), respectively. Our results clearly demonstrate that NRK fibroblasts should provide a highly suitable test system for investigating the signal transfer between electrically excitable cells and extracellular detectors, available at a minimum cost and effort for the experimenters. (+info)
Can subretinal microphotodiodes successfully replace degenerated photoreceptors?
The idea of implanting microphotodiode arrays as visual prostheses has aroused controversy on its feasibility from the moment it appeared in print. We now present results which basically support the concept of replacing damaged photoreceptors with subretinally implanted stimulation devices. Network activity in degenerated rat retinae could be modulated through local electrical stimulation in vitro. We also investigated the long term stability and biocompatibility of the subretinal implants and their impact on retinal physiology in rats. Ganzfeld electroretinograms and histology showed no significant side effect of subretinal implants on retinal function or the architecture of the inner retina. (+info)
Actin motion on microlithographically functionalized myosin surfaces and tracks.
High-resolution e-beam patterning exposure of the surface of poly[(tert-butyl-methacrylate)-co-(methyl methacrylate)]-a common e-beam and deep-UV resist used in semiconductor microlithography-induced sharp changes in the surface hydrophobicity. These differences in hydrophobicity resulted in the selective attachment of heavy meromyosin to hydrophobic, unexposed surfaces. The movement of the actin filaments on myosin-rich and myosin-poor surfaces was statistically characterized in terms of velocity, acceleration, and angle of movement. The actin filaments have a smooth motion on myosin-rich surfaces and an uneven motion on myosin-poor surfaces. Interestingly, an excess of myosin sites has a slowing, albeit mild effect on the motion of the actin filaments. It was also found that the myosin-rich/myosin-poor boundary has an alignment-enforcement effect, especially for the filaments approaching the border from the myosin-rich side. Based on these results, we discuss the feasibility of building purposefully designed molecular motor arrays and the testing of the hypotheses regarding the functioning of the molecular motors. (+info)
Where the chips fall: environmental health in the semiconductor industry.
Three recent lawsuits are focusing public attention on the environmental and occupational health effects of the world's largest and fastest growing manufacturing sector-the $150 billion semiconductor industry. The suits allege that exposure to toxic chemicals in semiconductor manufacturing plants led to adverse health effects such as miscarriage and cancer among workers. To manufacture computer components, the semiconductor industry uses large amounts of hazardous chemicals including hydrochloric acid, toxic metals and gases, and volatile solvents. Little is known about the long-term health consequences of exposure to chemicals by semiconductor workers. According to industry critics, the semiconductor industry also adversely impacts the environment, causing groundwater and air pollution and generating toxic waste as a by-product of the semiconductor manufacturing process. In contrast, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics shows the semiconductor industry as having a worker illness rate of about one-third of the average of all manufacturers, and advocates defend the industry, pointing to recent research collaborations and product replacement as proof that semiconductor manufacturers adequately protect both their employees and the environment. (+info)
Electrospray mass spectrometry of semiconductor nanoclusters: comparative analysis of positive and negative ion mode.
There has been a substantial growth in the application of mass spectrometry (MS) methods for the analysis of inorganic materials, due to the inherent sensitivity of mass spectrometry ionization to the specific composition and structure of the analyzed materials. To date, few mass spectrometry studies have focused on metal-chalcogenide materials, an important class of semiconductor materials at the nanoscale, that exhibit interesting optical and electronic properties as a function of size. In this study, we report the application of a correlated electrospray mass spectrometry (ESMS) study between negative-ion and positive-ion mode under low-cone voltage to probe size, composition, and stability of metal-chalcogenide materials at the <1 nm scale. This correlation approach provides insight into the ionization behavior and thermodynamic stability of clusters in the <1.0 nm size domain of the form [Zn4(SPh)10][Me4N]2, [Cd4(SPh)10][Me4N]2, [E4Zn10(SPh)16][Me4N]4, [E4Cd10(SPh)16][Me4N]4 (E = S, Se). It is demonstrated that application of low-cone voltage ESMS can be a useful technique for the rapid analysis of intact solid state nanomaterials when both negative and positive ionic modes are analyzed, with a potential for extrapolation to other classes of nanoscale materials. (+info)
Semiconductor camera for detection of small tumors.
Early detection of small tumors (approximately 3 mm) with only a moderate uptake ratio is often difficult because of poor statistics and a small signal-to-background ratio. The detection capability of a germanium semiconductor camera is analyzed to show that a very large number of counts is required even when the spatial resolution is matched to the size of the tumor. A potential enhancement of statistics using the tissue-scattered gamma rays is discussed based on the superior energy resolution of the semiconductor. (+info)
Resonant electron scattering by defects in single-walled carbon nanotubes.
We report the characterization of defects in individual metallic single-walled carbon nanotubes by transport measurements and scanned gate microscopy. A sizable fraction of metallic nanotubes grown by chemical vapor deposition exhibits strongly gate voltage-dependent resistance at room temperature. Scanned gate measurements reveal that this behavior originates from resonant electron scattering by defects in the nanotube as the Fermi level is varied by the gate voltage. The reflection coefficient at the peak of a scattering resonance was determined to be about 0.5 at room temperature. An intratube quantum dot device formed by two defects is demonstrated by low-temperature transport measurements. (+info)
Colloidal nanocrystal shape and size control: the case of cobalt.
We show that a relatively simple approach for controlling the colloidal synthesis of anisotropic cadmium selenide semiconductor nanorods can be extended to the size-controlled preparation of magnetic cobalt nanorods as well as spherically shaped nanocrystals. This approach helps define a minimum feature set needed to separately control the sizes and shapes of nanocrystals. The resulting cobalt nanocrystals produce interesting two- and three-dimensional superstructures, including ribbons of nanorods. (+info)