Written by Douglas Helm | published
Daily Technical Science Scientists from EPFL and the University of Manchester have made a breakthrough in the field of nanofluids allowing researchers to gain insight into the world’s molecules hidden within nanofluidic structures, he reported. The research takes advantage of the fluorescent properties of 2D boron nitride to illuminate and track molecules, allowing us to better understand their behaviors.
Nanofluidics is the study of fluids confined in very small spaces and helps us understand fluid behavior on the nanometer scale. Unfortunately, these very small areas are not easy to study using traditional microscopy techniques, so observing these molecules in real time can be a bit challenging. This new solution of using boron nitride to illuminate the movements of these molecules will certainly help in studying this hidden world more effectively and efficiently than we have before.
Using fluorescence from the hexagonal surface of boron nitride, researchers can then find insights into molecular interactions and surface defects on the crystal.
Boron nitride is a two-dimensional material, similar to graphene, that has the ability to emit light when it comes into contact with liquids. Scientists at EPFL’s Nanobiology Laboratory have used this material to directly observe and track individual molecules in the hidden world of nanofluidic structures. The implications of this technology are very broad and will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of how ions and molecules function in conditions similar to biological systems.
There are many other applications that will explore the hidden world of nanofluidic structures. According to the article, scientists will be able to directly image the emerging nanofluidic systems and observe behaviors when they are under stress or exposed to electrical voltage stimuli. Using fluorescence from the hexagonal surface of boron nitride, researchers can then find insights into molecular interactions and surface defects on the crystal.
Potential uses of this discovery could be to visualize nanoscale flows generated by pressure or electric fields in these hidden worlds.
The researchers were also able to find that when the surface defect turns off, the neighbor lights up and the reconstruction of entire molecular pathways is enabled. This allows scientists to use these emitters as nanoprobes, allowing us to see the arrangement of molecules in confined nanometer spaces that may be hidden worlds to traditional microscopy methods.
Meanwhile, Professor Radha Boya’s group at the University of Manchester was able to make nanochannels from 2D materials that allowed them to confine liquids close to the boron nitride surface.
Through this research, the University of Manchester group was able to reveal the arrangement of fluids caused by confinement in nanometer spaces. Currently, applications for this discovery are mostly passive sensing, but doctoral student Nathan Ronceray of LBEN has detailed some potential uses that could be applied in the future. Specifically, potential uses of this discovery could be to visualize nanoscale flows generated by pressure or electric fields in these hidden worlds.
In summary, this new optical imaging technology for hidden worlds such as nanofluidic structures is truly exciting and groundbreaking. It will be interesting to see how it is expanded and applied in the future. In the meantime, stay tuned for more science news.
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