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'Nanosprings' may help detect cancer
( 2003-11-11 11:24) (Agencies)

A tiny structure developed by US scientists could be used to detect single molecules, or as a key component in nanodevices, Cnet reported Monday.

Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have recently developed a tiny "nanospring" structure that could be used to detect individual molecules, possibly creating an extremely sensitive method of detecting cancer.

Georgia Tech's Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology said the nanosprings are smaller than any comparable structure, including the "nanobelts" developed by the institute in 2001.

Much research into the area of nanotechnology or devices constructed on a molecular scale has focused on creating smaller and more-efficient microchips. Nanosprings and nanobelts could make an impact on an area that includes devices such as sensors, which interact with forces and molecules in the surrounding environment.

Georgia Tech researchers are currently developing the first application for the nanospring, a micron-size "pill" that would distribute millions of the nanosprings throughout the body.

When the structures encountered even a single cancer-protein molecule, they would send a radio signal through the skin, the researchers said.

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