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Posted: Dec 12, 2011
Scientists see a beckoning hand from the nano-world
(Nanowerk News) Dr Sergey Gordeev, from the Department of Physics, was trying to create a nano-scalpel, a tool which can be used by biologists to look inside cells, when the process went wrong.
Dr Gordeev said: "I was amazed when I looked at the nano-scalpel and saw what appeared to be a beckoning hand.
The lower picture shows the AFM probe with the nano-hand circled. The upper image is a vastly enlarged image of the nano-hand, showing the beckoning motion spotted by Dr Gordeev.
"Nanoscience research is moving very fast at the moment, so maybe the nano-hand is trying to attract people and funders into this area.
"Nanoscience research is absolutely essential to the progress of many aspects of science. For example, with Professor Richard Guy in the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology we are carrying out research into human skin cells, looking at detecting minute changes in the cell elasticity due to ageing, sun radiation or disease.
"Such studies would allow us to uncover dangerous alterations when just one or two cells are affected, rather than having to wait until a large area is damaged."
The research group is using funding from Bath Ventures, an organisation which commercialises the results of the University's research, and private company Diamond Hard Surfaces Ltd, to explore the use of hard coatings for nano-tools, making them more durable and suitable for delicate biological procedures.
The group believes that more students, researchers and funding will be required to drive forward developments in the nanoscience in the future.