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Optical Trap for Detection & Quantitation of Subzeptomolar Quantities of Analytes

lasers 8281473 original

Summary: Tightly focused beams of laser light are used as "optical tweezers" to trap and manipulate polarizable objects such as microspheres of glass or latex with diameters on the order of 4.5 µm. When analytes are allowed to adhere to the microspheres, small quantities of these analytes can be manipulated, thus allowing their detection and quantitation even when amounts and concentrations of the analytes are extremely small. Illustrative examples include measuring the strength needed to break antibody-antigen bonds and the detection of DNA sequences.

Description: Detecting and quantifying small amounts and concentrations (at the subzeptomolar levels) of analytes is made possible with optical tweezers. Analytes that can be detected by using this invention include nucleic acids, antigens and antibodies, receptors and lectins. This technology should find major application for the detection of infectious diseases through the detection of disease-specific antigens, antibodies, or nucleic acid sequences. It should also find application in detection or any other component presently detectable through PCR, DNA probe technology or immunoassay, but at the level of only a few molecules.

Status: Available for nonexclusive licensing; collaborative research opportunities are also available.

Licensing Contact: Jack Pevenstein, NIST Technology Partnership Office


Inventors: Helmerson, Kristian; Kishore, Rani B.; Weetall, Howard H.

Patent Information: U.S. Patent # 5,620,857

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