Sandia National Laboratories (www.sandia.gov) has designed a microdevice that can easily collect and release proteins in aqueous solution in less than one second. The device is a series of gold-coated lines, each line apart by a thickness of one-third of a human hair. It separates proteins from the solution and from each other by electrically heating the metal lines which warms a 4 nm-thick polymer film. The film then changes from a hydrophilic to a hydrophobic state, which enables the film to absorb proteins passing over it. The proteins now separated from the water molecules, are released in a natural cleansing action in the hydrophilic state.
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