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Nanostraw Extraction Doesn’t Harm Cells

4/13/17   Routine lab work to examine biological parameters usually depends on destroying cells to release their contents for measurement. This technique has been used for decades, but its downfall is any given cell can only be analyzed once in a snapshot-like manner. A new technique developed at Stanford University enables researchers to non-destructively sample a cell’s interior, thus allowing for dynamic monitoring of the same cell over multiple time-points.



Mimicking natural gates which allow cells to exchange substances, the researchers built an array of nano-scale hollow tubes 600 times thinner than a human hair. Cells grown on this Nanostraw Extraction (NEX) platform are subjected to a momentary electrical current, freeing some of the cellular contents to diffuse out and through the nanostraws for collection and analysis by standard lab techniques, such as ELISA or PCR. Coupling a transient current with these nanostraws allows the researchers to take multiple snapshots of a cell’s interior without killing it.

This technique was tested on cell lines and human stem-cell derived heart and brain cells for up to 20 days, showing that it did not alter cell survival or morphology. This NEX platform promises to revolutionize dynamic assays, such as those studying stem cell development or transient drug responses.


8/27/13  Automated micro assembly has to be considered when looking at any micro manufacturing project, as no micro project can be successful commercially unless there are reliable and cost-effective assembly technologies that can handle products and components on a micro scale. Technologies required to facilitate micro assembly are vision systems, micro positioners, micro grippers, high resolution and high precision transfer tools for handling parts and components, clean room facilities, and real-time computer vision for controlling servo mechanisms and motors for alignment and assembly of parts with sub-micron tolerances.

MES is expert in the most appropriate micro manufacturing and assembly techniques for your project. In all successful projects, MES is engaged early and is a strategic partner in a client’s micro manufacturing and assembly endeavors. MES has an in-depth understanding of the scaling problems that are characteristic of micron-sized components or components with micron sized features.


In common with other aspects of the micro manufacturing world, material and process behaviors when assembling at the micro level are different from traditional assembly. Gravity is no longer the dominant force at work in many circumstances, running a distant second to surface tension and electrostatic attraction, and in the world of micro assembly, liquids flow upwards through capillary action.

As speedy and cost-effective assembly is the key to successful commercial micro manufacturing, it is vital that your choice of partner for a micro manufacturing project has the knowledge and expertise required to execute efficient micro component assembly.


10/29/12    It is amazing the technology we have nowadays in the medical field. MES has been involved with engineering and machining a part that is used in cartilage repair. These silicone molded valves are smaller than a piece of dust! We are able to put 84 million parts on 1 microscope slide! To the naked eye it looks like a cloudy slide, but put it under a microscope and you will see the micro detail. Learn more about this in our video Micro Molded Valve Technology.