News.NanoApex.com – Tiny ‘test tubes’ may aid pharmaceutical R&D: “The artificial cells, called liposomes, are tiny spherical containers that self-assemble from natural fats (phospholipids and cholesterol). Measuring micrometers in diameter, the fluid-filled membranes are currently used in cosmetics and for drug delivery. “
They self assemble? Sweet!
This has got to be one of the most interesting things I’ve read in nanotechnology lately.
The process still is highly aided by human hands: “They used pairs of infared lasers (“optical tweezers”) to bring two lipsomes into contact and a single ultra-violet laser pulse (the “optical scalpel”) to fuse the two cellse together. Once fused, the contents of the two cells mix and react. One liposome in each pair contained flurescent dye, the other contained calcium ions. AFter the cells merged, fluorescence increased as a result of the reaction between the dye and the ions.”
These testtubes are useful for quantitative studies of chemical reactions “involving samples in the quadrillionths of liters.”