Infographic: Nanostraw Extraction

Researchers devise a way to sample living proteins and RNAs from cells by using an electric current to briefly open pores in the membrane.

ruth williams
Ruth Williams

Ruth is a freelance journalist and regular correspondent for The Scientist, writing news for the website and monthly Modus Operandi articles for the magazine. Before freelancing, Ruth was a...

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.

Sep 30, 2017

© GEORGE RETSECK

Cells are cultured atop a polycarbonate membrane perforated in spots by vertical aluminum oxide nanostraws. At defined locations, where the membrane has been etched away lithographically, the nanostraws protrude from the membrane and contact the cells. A brief electric voltage is passed across the nanostraws, causing temporary perforations in the cell membrane. This allows small volumes of cytoplasm to diffuse into the nanostraws for collection in the reservoir of extraction buffer below the polycarbonate membrane.

Read the full story.