Self-Folding Hybrid Graphene Skin for 3D Biosensing.
ABSTRACT: Biological samples such as cells have complex three-dimensional (3D) spatio-molecular profiles and often feature soft and irregular surfaces. Conventional biosensors are based largely on 2D and rigid substrates, which have limited contact area with the entirety of the surface of biological samples making it challenging to obtain 3D spatially resolved spectroscopic information, especially in a label-free manner. Here, we report an ultrathin, flexible skinlike biosensing platform that is capable of conformally wrapping a soft or irregularly shaped 3D biological sample such as a cancer cell or a pollen grain, and therefore enables 3D label-free spatially resolved molecular spectroscopy via surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Our platform features an ultrathin thermally responsive poly( N-isopropylacrylamide)-graphene-nanoparticle hybrid skin that can be triggered to self-fold and wrap around 3D micro-objects in a conformal manner due to its superior flexibility. We highlight the utility of this 3D biosensing platform by spatially mapping the 3D molecular signatures of a variety of microparticles including silica microspheres, spiky pollen grains, and human breast cancer cells.
Project description:Advances in biomanufacturing techniques have opened the doors to recapitulate human sensory organs such as the nose and ear in vitro with adequate levels of functionality. Such advancements have enabled simultaneous targeting of two challenges in engineered sensory organs, especially the nose: i) mechanically robust reconstruction of the nasal cartilage with high precision and ii) replication of the nose functionality: odor perception. Hybrid nasal organs can be equipped with remarkable capabilities such as augmented olfactory perception. Herein, a proof-of-concept for an odor-perceptive nose-like hybrid, which is composed of a mechanically robust cartilage-like construct and a biocompatible biosensing platform, is proposed. Specifically, 3D cartilage-like tissue constructs are created by multi-material 3D bioprinting using mechanically tunable chondrocyte-laden bioinks. In addition, by optimizing the composition of stiff and soft bioinks in macro-scale printed constructs, the competence of this system in providing improved viability and recapitulation of chondrocyte cell behavior in mechanically robust 3D constructs is demonstrated. Furthermore, the engineered cartilage-like tissue construct is integrated with an electrochemical biosensing system to bring functional olfactory sensations toward multiple specific airway disease biomarkers, explosives, and toxins under biocompatible conditions. Proposed hybrid constructs can lay the groundwork for functional bionic interfaces and humanoid cyborgs.
Project description:Cellular lipid membranes are spatially inhomogeneous soft materials. Materials properties such as pressure and surface tension thus show important microscopic-scale variation that is critical to many biological functions. We present a means to calculate pressure and surface tension in a 3D-resolved manner within molecular-dynamics simulations and show how such measurements can yield important insight. We also present the first corrections to local virial and pressure fields to account for the constraints typically used in lipid simulations that otherwise cause problems in highly oriented systems such as bilayers. Based on simulations of an asymmetric bacterial ion channel in a POPC bilayer, we demonstrate how 3D-resolved pressure can probe for both short-range and long-range effects from the protein on the membrane environment. We also show how surface tension is a sensitive metric for inter-leaflet equilibrium and can be used to detect even subtle imbalances between bilayer leaflets in a membrane-protein simulation. Since surface tension is known to modulate the function of many proteins, this effect is an important consideration for predictions of ion channel function. We outline a strategy by which our local pressure measurements, which we make available within a version of the GROMACS simulation package, may be used to design optimally equilibrated membrane-protein simulations.
Project description:We report on a quasi-three-dimensional (3D) plasmonic nanowell array with high structural uniformity for molecular detection. The quasi-3D plasmonic nanowell array was composed of periodic hexagonal Au nanowells whose surface is densely covered with gold nanoparticles (Au NPs), separated by an ultrathin dielectric interlayer. The uniform array of the Au nanowells was fabricated by nanoimprint lithography and deposition of Au thin film. A self-assembled monolayer (SAM) of perfluorodecanethiol (PFDT) was coated on the Au surface, on which Au was further deposited. Interestingly, the PFDT-coated Au nanowells were fully covered with Au NPs with an ultra-high density of 375 ?m-2 rather than a smooth film due to the anti-wetting property of the low-energy surface. The plasmonic nanogaps formed among the high-density Au NPs led to a strong near-field enhancement via coupled localized surface plasmon resonance and produced a uniform surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) response with a small relative standard deviation of 5.3%. Importantly, the highly uniform nanostructure, featured by the nanoimprint lithography and 3D growth of densely-packed Au NPs, minimizes the spatial variation of Raman intensity, potentially providing quantitative analysis. Moreover, analyte molecules were highly concentrated and selectively deposited in nanowells when a water droplet containing the analyte was evaporated on the plasmonic substrate. The analyte formed a relatively thick overcoat in the nanowells near the triple line due to the coffee-ring effects. Combining 3D plasmonic nanowell substrates with molecular enrichments, highly sensitive detection of lactic acid was demonstrated. Given its combination of high sensitivity and signal uniformity, the quasi-3D plasmonic nanowell substrate is expected to provide a superior molecular detection platform for biosensing applications.
Project description:Seismocardiography (SCG) is a measure of chest vibration associated with heartbeats. While skin soft electronic tattoos (e-tattoos) have been widely reported for electrocardiogram (ECG) sensing, wearable SCG sensors are still based on either rigid accelerometers or non-stretchable piezoelectric membranes. This work reports an ultrathin and stretchable SCG sensing e-tattoo based on the filamentary serpentine mesh of 28-µm-thick piezoelectric polymer, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). 3D digital image correlation (DIC) is used to map chest vibration to identify the best location to mount the e-tattoo and to investigate the effects of substrate stiffness. As piezoelectric sensors easily suffer from motion artifacts, motion artifacts are effectively reduced by performing subtraction between a pair of identical SCG tattoos placed adjacent to each other. Integrating the soft SCG sensor with a pair of soft gold electrodes on a single e-tattoo platform forms a soft electro-mechano-acoustic cardiovascular (EMAC) sensing tattoo, which can perform synchronous ECG and SCG measurements and extract various cardiac time intervals including systolic time interval (STI). Using the EMAC tattoo, strong correlations between STI and the systolic/diastolic blood pressures, are found, which may provide a simple way to estimate blood pressure continuously and noninvasively using one chest-mounted e-tattoo.
Project description:To date, fabricating three-dimensional (3D) nanostructured substrate with small nanogap was a laborious challenge by conventional fabrication techniques. In this article, we address a simple, low-cost, large-area, and spatially controllable method to fabricate 3D nanostructures, involving hemisphere, hemiellipsoid, and pyramidal pits based on nanosphere lithography (NSL). These 3D nanostructures were used as surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrates of single Rhodamine 6G (R6G) molecule. The average SERS enhancement factor achieved up to 1011. The inevitably negative influence of the adhesion-promoting intermediate layer of Cr or Ti was resolved by using such kind of 3D nanostructures. The nanostructured quartz substrate is a free platform as a SERS substrate and is nondestructive when altering with different metal films and is recyclable, which avoids the laborious and complicated fabricating procedures.
Project description:The structure of pollen grains is related to the reproductive function of the plants. Here, three-dimensional (3D) refractive index maps were obtained for individual conifer pollen grains using optical diffraction tomography (ODT). The 3D morphological features of pollen grains from pine trees were investigated using measured refractive index maps, in which distinct substructures were clearly distinguished and analyzed. Morphological and physiochemical parameters of the pollen grains were quantified from the obtained refractive index (RI) maps and used to quantitatively study the interspecific differences of pollen grains from different strains. Our results demonstrate that ODT can assess the structure of pollen grains. This label-free and rapid 3D imaging approach may provide a new platform for understanding the physiology of pollen grains.
Project description:We previously reported that single cells from a human colorectal cancer (CRC) cell line (HCA-7) formed either hollow single-layered polarized cysts or solid spiky masses when plated in 3D in type-I collagen. To begin in-depth analyses into whether clonal cysts and spiky masses possessed divergent properties, individual colonies of each morphology were isolated and expanded. The lines thus derived faithfully retained their parental cystic and spiky morphologies and were termed CC (cystic) and SC (spiky), respectively. Although both CC and SC expressed EGF receptor (EGFR), the EGFR-neutralizing monoclonal antibody, cetuximab, strongly inhibited growth of CC, whereas SC was resistant to growth inhibition, and this was coupled to increased tyrosine phosphorylation of MET and RON. Addition of the dual MET/RON tyrosine kinase inhibitor, crizotinib, restored cetuximab sensitivity in SC. To further characterize these two lines, we performed comprehensive genomic and transcriptomic analysis of CC and SC in 3D. One of the most up-regulated genes in CC was the tumor suppressor 15-PGDH/HPGD, and the most up-regulated gene in SC was versican (VCAN) in 3D and xenografts. Analysis of a CRC tissue microarray showed that epithelial, but not stromal, VCAN staining strongly correlated with reduced survival, and combined epithelial VCAN and absent HPGD staining portended a poorer prognosis. Thus, with this 3D system, we have identified a mode of cetuximab resistance and a potential prognostic marker in CRC. As such, this represents a potentially powerful system to identify additional therapeutic strategies and disease-relevant genes in CRC and possibly other solid tumors.
Project description:Serial crystallography has enabled the study of complex biological questions through the determination of biomolecular structures at room temperature using low X-ray doses. Furthermore, it has enabled the study of protein dynamics by the capture of atomically resolved and time-resolved molecular movies. However, the study of many biologically relevant targets is still severely hindered by high sample consumption and lengthy data-collection times. By combining serial synchrotron crystallography (SSX) with 3D printing, a new experimental platform has been created that tackles these challenges. An affordable 3D-printed, X-ray-compatible microfluidic device (3D-MiXD) is reported that allows data to be collected from protein microcrystals in a 3D flow with very high hit and indexing rates, while keeping the sample consumption low. The miniaturized 3D-MiXD can be rapidly installed into virtually any synchrotron beamline with only minimal adjustments. This efficient collection scheme in combination with its mixing geometry paves the way for recording molecular movies at synchrotrons by mixing-triggered millisecond time-resolved SSX.
Project description:Brain function can be best studied by simultaneous measurements and modulation of the multifaceted signaling at the cellular scale. Extensive efforts have been made to develop multifunctional neural probes, typically involving highly specialized fabrication processes. Here, we report a novel multifunctional neural probe platform realized by applying ultrathin nanoelectronic coating (NEC) on the surfaces of conventional microscale devices such as optical fibers and micropipettes. We fabricated the NECs by planar photolithography techniques using a substrate-less and multilayer design, which host arrays of individually addressed electrodes with an overall thickness below 1 ?m. Guided by an analytic model and taking advantage of the surface tension, we precisely aligned and coated the NEC devices on the surfaces of these conventional microprobes and enabled electrical recording capabilities on par with the state-of-the-art neural electrodes. We further demonstrated optogenetic stimulation and controlled drug infusion with simultaneous, spatially resolved neural recording in a rodent model. This study provides a low-cost, versatile approach to construct multifunctional neural probes that can be applied to both fundamental and translational neuroscience.
Project description:Epitaxial ultrathin films are of utmost importance for state-of-the-art nanoelectronic devices, such as MOSFET transistors and non-volatile memories. At the same time, as the film thickness is reduced to a few nanometers, characterization of the materials is becoming challenging for commonly used methods. In this report, we demonstrate an approach for in-situ characterization of phase transitions of ultrathin nickel silicides using 3D medium-energy ion scattering. The technique provides simultaneously depth-resolved composition and real-space crystallography of the silicide films using a single sample and with a non-invasive probe. We show, for 10?nm Ni films on Si, that their composition follows a normal transition sequence, such as Ni-Ni<sub>2</sub>Si-NiSi. However, the transition process is significantly different for samples with initial Ni thickness of 3?nm. Depth-resolved crystallography shows that the Ni films transform from an as-deposited disordered layer to an epitaxial silicide layer at the temperature of ~290?°C, significantly lower than previously reported. The high depth resolution of the technique permits us to determine the composition of the ultrathin films to be 38% Ni and 62% Si.