Weighing viruses is not as easy as it looks

Categorie(s) : News, Research

Published : 5 February 2019

How do you weigh a bacteria-eating virus that is too light for precision scales but too heavy for mass spectrometry? Researchers from Leti and BIG developed and patented a novel “nanoscale” technique to do just that. The technique uses an array of around 20 nanomechanical resonators that are made to vibrate. The virus is then introduced into a chamber with the array, and the system measures the difference in frequency.

The measurement is taken inside the chamber of a new type of spectrometer. The major challenge was to find the best way to introduce the viruses, which are in a solution, into the chamber. The researchers came up with a system to nebulize the solution, vacuum it into the chamber, and focus it onto the nanomechanical resonators. This very promising advance could be used to characterize viruses, biomarkers, and synthetic nanoparticles for medical applications.


Contact: sebastien.hentz@cea.fr

Read the article in Science: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6417/918

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