Matching Items (51)

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Combined AFM and Fluorescence Measurements for the Investigation of Nanophotonic Effects on Single Fluorophores

Description

In this project, we introduce a type of microscopy which produces correlated topography and fluorescence lifetime images with nanometer resolution. This technique combines atomic force microscopy (AFM) and time resolved

In this project, we introduce a type of microscopy which produces correlated topography and fluorescence lifetime images with nanometer resolution. This technique combines atomic force microscopy (AFM) and time resolved confocal fluorescence microscopy to conduct biological and materials research. This method is used to investigate nanophotonic effects on single fluorophores, including quantum dots and fluorescent molecules. For single fluorescent molecules, we investigate the effects of quenching of fluorescence with the probe of an atomic force microscope which is combined and synchronized with a confocal fluorescence lifetime microscope. For quantum dots, we investigate the correlation between the topographic and fluorescence data. With this method of combining an atomic force microscope with a confocal microscope, it is anticipated that there will be applications in nanomaterial characterization and life sciences; such as the determination of the structure of small molecular systems on surfaces, molecular interactions, as well as the structure and properties of fluorescent nanomaterials.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Correlating Confocal Microscopy and Atomic Force Indentation Reveals Metastatic Cancer Cells Stiffen During Invasion Into Collagen I Matrices

Description

Mechanical interactions between cells and their microenvironment dictate cell phenotype and behavior, calling for cell mechanics measurements in three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrices (ECM). Here we describe a novel technique for

Mechanical interactions between cells and their microenvironment dictate cell phenotype and behavior, calling for cell mechanics measurements in three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrices (ECM). Here we describe a novel technique for quantitative mechanical characterization of soft, heterogeneous samples in 3D. The technique is based on the integration of atomic force microscopy (AFM) based deep indentation, confocal fluorescence microscopy, finite element (FE) simulations and analytical modeling. With this method, the force response of a cell embedded in 3D ECM can be decoupled from that of its surroundings, enabling quantitative determination of the elastic properties of both the cell and the matrix. We applied the technique to the quantification of the elastic properties of metastatic breast adenocarcinoma cells invading into collagen hydrogels. We found that actively invading and fully embedded cells are significantly stiffer than cells remaining on top of the collagen, a clear example of phenotypical change in response to the 3D environment. Treatment with Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) inhibitor significantly reduces this stiffening, indicating that actomyosin contractility plays a major role in the initial steps of metastatic invasion.

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Date Created
  • 2016-01-27

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Computational Study of Conformation Dynamics and Allostery in WW Protein Domains

Description

Proteins continually and naturally incur evolutionary selection through mutagenesis that optimizes their fitness, which is primarily determined by their function. It is known that allosteric regulation alters a protein's conformational

Proteins continually and naturally incur evolutionary selection through mutagenesis that optimizes their fitness, which is primarily determined by their function. It is known that allosteric regulation alters a protein's conformational dynamics leading to functional changes. We have computationally introduced a mutation at a predicted regulatory site of a short, 46 residue-long, protein interaction module composed of a WW domain and corresponding polyproline ligand (PDB id: 1k9r). The dynamic flexibility index (DFI) was computed for the binding site of the wild type and mutant WW domains to quantify the mutations effect on the rigidity of the binding pocket. DFI is used as a metric to quantify the resilience of a given position to perturbation along the chain. Using steered molecular dynamics (SMD), we also measure the effect of the point mutation on allosteric regulation by approximating the binding free energy of the system calculated using Jarzynski's Equality. Calculation of the DFI shows that the overall flexibility of the protein complex increases as a result of the distal point mutation. Total change in DFI percentile of the binding site showed a 0.067 increase suggesting an allosteric, loss of function mutation. Furthermore, we see that the change in the binding free energy is greater for that of the mutated complex supporting the idea that an increase in flexibility is correlated to a decrease in proteinlig and binding affinity. We show that sequence mutation of an allosteric site affects the mechanical stability and functionality of the binding pocket.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Atomic Force Microscopy Imaging of Chromatin in Cancerous and Non-Cancerous Esophageal Cells

Description

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study structural differences in the chromatin of cancerous (CP-D) and non-cancerous (EPC2) cell lines. Chromatin samples were extracted using a salt fractionation

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study structural differences in the chromatin of cancerous (CP-D) and non-cancerous (EPC2) cell lines. Chromatin samples were extracted using a salt fractionation protocol and subject to Mnase digestion for 2, 4, 8, and 16 minutes. Samples were then immobilized on APTES-functionalized mica sheets. Images were produced using the tapping mode capabilities of the AFM and structural differences between cell lines were quantified using image processing software. Vast differences in chromatin structure were observed between cancerous and non-cancerous cell lines and it was discovered that CP-D chromatin is present as scattered nucleosomes and nucleosome aggregates while EPC2 chromatin is present in intricate arrays. It was also observed that in both the CP-D and EPC2 cell lines, nucleosomes were more isolated and less apparent at longer Mnase digestion times. These findings lead to the conclusion that as the DNA becomes sufficiently digested, chromatin and nucleosomal arrays begin to deteriorate and lose their complex and elaborate structure.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Synthesis and Characterization of Laser Plasma that Produces Pseudocarbyne Using Laser Pulses

Description

Carbon allotropes are the basis for many exciting advancements in technology. While sp² and sp³ hybridizations are well understood, the sp¹ hybridized carbon has been elusive. However, with recent advances

Carbon allotropes are the basis for many exciting advancements in technology. While sp² and sp³ hybridizations are well understood, the sp¹ hybridized carbon has been elusive. However, with recent advances made using a pulsed laser ablation in liquid technique, sp¹ hybridized carbon allotropes have been created. The fabricated carbon chain is composed of sp¹ and sp³ hybridized bonds, but it also incorporates nanoparticles such as gold or possibly silver to stabilize the chain. The polyyne generated in this process is called pseudocarbyne due to its striking resemblance to the theoretical carbyne. The formation of these carbon chains is yet to be fully understood, but significant progress has been made in determining the temperature of the plasma in which the pseudocarbyne is formed. When a 532 nm pulsed laser with a pulsed energy of 250 mJ and pulse length of 10ns is used to ablate a gold target, a peak temperature of 13400 K is measured. When measured using Laser-Induced Breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) the average temperature of the neutral carbon plasma over one second was 4590±172 K. This temperature strongly suggests that the current theoretical model used to describe the temperature at which pseudocarbyne generates is accurate.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Determination of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography

Description

The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated

The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated nanostructures included Ge quantum dots, Ge/Si core/shell nanowires, and polytype heterostructures in ZnSe nanobelts. Hole densities were calculated for the first two systems, and the spontaneous polarization for wurtzite ZnSe was determined. Epitaxial Ge quantum dots (QDs) embedded in boron-doped silicon were studied. Reconstructed phase images showed extra phase shifts near the base of the QDs, which was attributed to hole accumulation in these regions. The resulting charge density was (0.03±0.003) holes
m3, which corresponded to about 30 holes localized to a pyramidal, 25-nm-wide Ge QD. This value was in reasonable agreement with the average number of holes confined to each Ge dot determined using a capacitance-voltage measurement. Hole accumulation in Ge/Si core/shell nanowires was observed and quantified using off-axis electron holography and other electron microscopy techniques. High-angle annular-dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy images and electron holograms were obtained from specific nanowires. The intensities of the former were utilized to calculate the projected thicknesses for both the Ge core and the Si shell. The excess phase shifts measured by electron holography across the nanowires indicated the presence of holes inside the Ge cores. The hole density in the core regions was calculated to be (0.4±0.2)
m3 based on a simplified coaxial cylindrical model. Homogeneous zincblende/wurtzite heterostructure junctions in ZnSe nanobelts were studied. The observed electrostatic fields and charge accumulation were attributed to spontaneous polarization present in the wurtzite regions since the contributions from piezoelectric polarization were shown to be insignificant based on geometric phase analysis. The spontaneous polarization for the wurtzite ZnSe was calculated to be psp = -(0.0029±0.00013) C/m2, whereas a first principles' calculation gave psp = -0.0063 C/m2. The atomic arrangements and polarity continuity at the zincblende/wurtzite interface were determined through aberration-corrected high-angle annular-dark-field imaging, which revealed no polarity reversal across the interface. Overall, the successful outcomes of these studies confirmed the capability of off-axis electron holography to provide quantitative electrostatic information for nanostructured materials.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Recognition tunneling: approaches towards next generation DNA sequencing

Description

This thesis describes several approaches to next generation DNA sequencing via tunneling current method based on a Scanning Tunneling Microscope system. In chapters 5 and 6, preliminary results have shown

This thesis describes several approaches to next generation DNA sequencing via tunneling current method based on a Scanning Tunneling Microscope system. In chapters 5 and 6, preliminary results have shown that DNA bases could be identified by their characteristic tunneling signals. Measurements taken in aqueous buffered solution showed that single base resolution could be achieved with economic setups. In chapter 7, it is illustrated that some ongoing measurements are indicating the sequence readout by making linear scan on a piece of short DNA oligomer. However, to overcome the difficulties of controlling DNA especially ssDNA movement, it is much better to have the tunneling measurement incorporated onto a robust nanopore device to realize sequential reading of the DNA sequence while it is being translocated.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Ferroelectric lithium niobate surfaces for depositions of metallic nanostructure and ZnO semiconducting thin film

Description

A distinct characteristic of ferroelectric materials is the existence of a reversible spontaneous polarization with the application of an electric field. The relevant properties ferroelectric lithium niobate surfaces include a

A distinct characteristic of ferroelectric materials is the existence of a reversible spontaneous polarization with the application of an electric field. The relevant properties ferroelectric lithium niobate surfaces include a low density of defects and external screening of the bound polarization charge. These properties result in unique surface electric field distribution with a strong electric field in the vicinity of domain boundaries, while away from the boundaries, the field decreases rapidly. In this work, ferroelectric lithium niobate (LN) is used as a template to direct the assembly of metallic nanostructures via photo-induced reduction and a substrate for deposition of ZnO semiconducting thin films via plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition (PE-ALD). To understand the mechanism the photo-induced deposition process the following effects were considered: the illumination photon energy and intensity, the polarization screening mechanism of the lithium niobate template and the chemical concentration. Depending on the UV wavelength, variation of Ag deposition rate and boundary nanowire formation are observed and attributed to the unique surface electric field distribution of the polarity patterned template and the penetration depth of UV light. Oxygen implantation is employed to transition the surface from external screening to internal screening, which results in depressed boundary nanowire formation. The ratio of the photon flux and Ag ion flux to the surface determine the deposition pattern. Domain boundary deposition is enhanced with a high photon/Ag ion flux ratio while domain boundary deposition is depressed with a low photon/Ag ion flux ratio. These results also support the photo-induced deposition model where the process is limited by carrier generation, and the cation reduction occurs at the surface. These findings will provide a foundational understanding to employ ferroelectric templates for assembly and patterning of inorganic, organic, biological, and integrated structures. ZnO films deposited on positive and negative domain surfaces of LN demonstrate different I-V curve behavior at different temperatures. At room temperature, ZnO deposited on positive domains exhibits almost two orders of magnitude greater conductance than on negative domains. The conductance of ZnO on positive domains decreases with increasing temperature while the conductance of ZnO on negative domains increases with increasing temperature. The observations are interpreted in terms of the downward or upward band bending at the ZnO/LN interface which is induced by the ferroelectric polarization charge. Possible application of this effect in non-volatile memory devices is proposed for future work.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Investigation of light absorption and emission in Ge and GeSn films grown on Si substrates

Description

Ge1-ySny alloys represent a new class of photonic materials for integrated optoelectronics on Si. In this work, the electrical and optical properties of Ge1-ySny alloy films grown on Si, with

Ge1-ySny alloys represent a new class of photonic materials for integrated optoelectronics on Si. In this work, the electrical and optical properties of Ge1-ySny alloy films grown on Si, with concentrations in the range 0 ≤ y ≤ 0.04, are studied via a variety of methods. The first microelectronic devices from GeSn films were fabricated using newly developed CMOS-compatible protocols, and the devices were characterized with respect to their electrical properties and optical response. The detectors were found to have a detection range that extends into the near-IR, and the detection edge is found to shift to longer wavelengths with increasing Sn content, mainly due to the compositional dependence of the direct band gap E0. With only 2 % Sn, all of the telecommunication bands are covered by a single detector. Room temperature photoluminescence was observed from GeSn films with Sn content up to 4 %. The peak wavelength of the emission was found to shift to lower energies with increasing Sn content, corresponding to the decrease in the direct band gap E0 of the material. An additional peak in the spectrum was assigned to the indirect band gap. The separation between the direct and indirect peaks was found to decrease with increasing Sn concentration, as expected. Electroluminescence was also observed from Ge/Si and Ge0.98Sn0.02 photodiodes under forward bias, and the luminescence spectra were found to match well with the observed photoluminescence spectra. A theoretical expression was developed for the luminescence due to the direct band gap and fit to the data.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Reconstruction methods In free electron laser X-ray diffraction

Description

One of the most important issues in femtosecond free electron laser X-ray diraction is to reconstruct the 3D charge density of molecule from a mass of diraction snapshots. In order

One of the most important issues in femtosecond free electron laser X-ray diraction is to reconstruct the 3D charge density of molecule from a mass of diraction snapshots. In order to determine the orientation of single molecule from diraction patterns, we rst determine the moments and products of inertia of this from 2D experiment data (diraction patterns or EM images to obtain the elements of the inertia tensor. If diraction patterns from uniformly random orientations or some preferred orientations are collected, the principal axes of the molecule can be extracted, together with the Euler angles which relate the principal axes of the molecule to the laboratory frame axes. This is achieved by nding the maximum and minimum values for the measured moments from many single-molecule patterns. Simulations for GroEL protein indicates that the calculation of the autocorrelation help eliminate the Poisson noise in Cryo- EM images and can make correct orientation determination. The eect of water jacket surrounding the protein molecule is studied based on molecular dynamics simulation result. The intensities from water and interference is found to suppress those from protein itself. A method is proposed and applied to the simulation data to show the possibility for it to overcome the water background problem. The scattering between Bragg re ections from nanocrystals is used to aid solution of the phase problem. We describe a method for reconstructing the charge density of a typical molecule within a single unit cell, if suciently nely-sampled diraction data are available from many nanocrystals of dierent sizes lying in the same orientations without knowledge of the distribution of particle size or requiring atomic-resolution data. Triple correlation of the diraction patterns are made use of to reconiii

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Date Created
  • 2011