Transport through pores: from living cells to diodes, transistors, and probing single cells.
Transport through nanopores and ion channels in cell membranes exists in virtually all biological cells and is important in such things as the regulation of heart function, nerve signals, and delivery of nutrients to the cell. Nanopores have also started to play a major role in contemporary biotechnology, because many separation and sensing processes require pores with nanometer-sized openings. My scientific interests have been focused on fabricating synthetic single nanopores with applications in biophysics and nanotechnology. The nanopores that we fabricate by the track-etching technique and e-beam drilling have diameters as small as few nanometers, and they have controlled geometry and surface chemistry. I will show how these nanopores can be used as devices for controlling the flow of ions and charged molecules in a solution, effectively functioning as ionic diodes and ionic transistors. A nanopore with integrated gold layer, which rectifies via gold polarization, will be presented as well. I will also discuss nanofluidic phenomena in non-aqueous solutions and solid electrolytes. Finally our newest direction of research aimed at contactless means of studying mechanical properties of cells will be introduced.
Dr. Zuzanna Siwy
University of California, Irvine
Dr. Zuzanna S. Siwy received her Ph.D. in 1997 from the Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland, and habilitation in 2004. From 2000–2003 she was a Fellow of the Foundation for Polish Science, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Institute for Heavy Ions Research (GSI) in Darmstadt, Germany. After conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Florida, Gainesville, in July 2005, Dr. Siwy joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. In 2007, she became the Fellow of the Alfred von Sloan Foundation. In 2009, Dr. Siwy was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) as well as the Bessel Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Her current research interests focus on using synthetic nanopores as templates for biomimetic channels as well as ionic diodes and ionic transistors.