• Quantum dots show promise for analytical chemistry
    Analytical chemistry could benefit from electroosmosis

Electrophoretic Separations

Quantum dots show promise for analytical chemistry

May 06 2010

Quantum dots play a crucial role in electroosmosis, a process similar to electrophoresis which could allow for greater precision in analytical chemistry and other scientific disciplines.

Electroosmosis, like electrophoresis, involves applying an electrical field to the substance being tested, the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) reports.

However, whereas electrophoresis spreads the test substance across the surface of a substrate, in electroosmosis it is fully immersed in a liquid with polar molecules - such as water.

The research focuses on manipulating quantum dots within a liquid by this method, using lasers to detect the presence of a single quantum dot measuring 3 nm wide and 6 nm long.

By alternating the voltage at two electrodes at the ends of perpendicular fluid-filled channels, the quantum dot can be moved.

The accuracy - to within 45 nm - is akin to placing golf balls on a coffee table automatically from a distance of 100 miles away, according to the scientists.

A previous JQI report noted the application of quantum mechanics in analytical chemistry, allowing reactions to take place at controlled rates by carrying them out near absolute zero.

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