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Fluid FM: Combining AFM and Microfluidics for Single-cell and Nanoparticle Manipulation in Liquid

NST Nanoscience Seminar
Tomaso Zambelli, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
June 18, 2013 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Building 440, Room A105-106
Glass micropipettes are the typical instrument for intracellular injection, patch clamping or extracellular deposition of liquids into viable cells. The micro pipette isthereby slowly approached to the cell by using micro manipulators and visual control through an optical microscope. During this process, however, the cell is often mechanically injured which leads to cell death and failure of the experiment.

To overcome these challenges and limitations of this conventional method we developed the FluidFM technology, an evolution of standard AFM microscopy combining nanofluidics via cantilevers with integrated microfluidic channel [1]. The channel ends at a well defined aperture at the apex of the AFM tip while the other extremity is connected to a reservoir. The instrument can therefore be regarded as a multifunctional micropipette with force feedbackworking in liquid environment.

We are focussing on three applications for single-cell biology:

  • i) cytosolic and intranuclear injection [1,2],
  • ii) cell adhesion [3,4], and
  • iii) single virus deposition on cell surfaces [5].

At the same time we are using the FluidFM as lithography tool in liquid [6].

[1] A. Meister et al, Nano Lett (2009)9:2501.
[2] O. Guillaume-Gentil et al, Small (2013) DOI: 10.1002/smll.201202276.
[3] P. Dörig et al, Appl Phys Lett (2010) 97:023701.
[4] E. Potthoff et al, PLoS ONE (2012) 7:e52712.
[5] P. Stiefel et al, Nano Lett (2012) 12:4219.
[6] R.R. Grüter et al, Nanoscale (2013) 5:1097.

Tomaso Zambelli studied physics at the University of Padova. He completed his Ph.D from the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Plack-Society in Berlin (heterogeneous catalysis with a VT-STM in UHV, Prof. Ertl, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2007) and postdoctoral studies from the CNRS in Paris (local metal electrodeposition on nSi(111) with STM). After 7 years as CNRS researcher in Toulouse (mechanical and electrical properties of single molecules with 4K-STM and RT-AFM in UHV) he joined the LBB at ETH Zurich in 2006 where he coordinated the invention of the FluidFM technology.