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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
September 20, 2004
Volume 40, Number 2

UNM engineering team awarded $1 million for nanofluidic research


By Greg Johnston

A team of UNM School of Engineering researchers has been funded $1 million by the National Science Foundation Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team Program to study how protein molecules behave in extremely small fluidic channels. Sang Han, assistant professor of chemical and nuclear engineering, is the principal investigator for the study “Fundamental Understanding of Nanofluidics for Advanced Bioseparation and Analysis.”

Sang Han is researching nanofluidics at UNM.
“By introducing extremely small channels to silicon-based substrates, we are artificially creating a well-controlled environment to study the unusual transport behavior of biological molecules that occurs in such small dimensions,” Han said. “Our study will open the door to a better understanding of how biological molecules behave in nanoscale channels.”

Nanotechnology is the increasingly important area of research dealing with objects whose size is measured in nanometers, one billionth of a meter. “If properly fabricated, the silicon chip-based nanochannels will provide a study platform that could ultimately mimic human biological systems,” Han said.

“Scientifically we want to understand how protein molecules behave in such small channels. By understanding their transport, we can ultimately better separate these molecules.”

Working with Han are team members Gabriel López, chemical and nuclear engineering and chemistry; Steven R.J. Brueck, director of the Center for High Technology Materials; Dimiter Petsev, chemical and nuclear engineering, and Cornelius Ivory from Washington State University.