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Since the discovery of biological ion channels and their role in physiology, scientists have attempted to create man-made structures that mimic their biological counterparts.
New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and collaborators at the University of California, Irvine shows that synthetic solid-state nanopores can have finely tuned transport behaviors much like the biological channels that allow a neuron to fire.
Ion - Channels - Properties - Ability - Stimuli
In biological ion channels, two of the most exciting properties are the ability to respond to external stimuli and differentiate between two ions of the same charge, such as sodium and potassium.
It is well known that synthetic nanopores can distinguish between positive and negative ions (such as potassium and chloride) but in the new research, the team was able to distinguish between sodium and potassium ions despite their equal charge and nearly identical size. The potassium-selective channels showed currents that were roughly 80 times larger for potassium ions than sodium ions, significantly higher than any other man-made system has demonstrated and a first for solid-state nanopores.
Platforms - Systems - Work - Steven - Buchsbaum
"We can use our synthetic platforms to better understand how biological systems work," said Steven Buchsbaum, LLNL staff scientist and a lead author of a paper appearing in the Feb. 8 edition of Science Advances....
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