A high-throughput label-free nanoparticle analyser

Nat Nanotechnol. 2011 May;6(5):308-13. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2011.24. Epub 2011 Mar 6.


Synthetic nanoparticles and genetically modified viruses are used in a range of applications, but high-throughput analytical tools for the physical characterization of these objects are needed. Here we present a microfluidic analyser that detects individual nanoparticles and characterizes complex, unlabelled nanoparticle suspensions. We demonstrate the detection, concentration analysis and sizing of individual synthetic nanoparticles in a multicomponent mixture with sufficient throughput to analyse 500,000 particles per second. We also report the rapid size and titre analysis of unlabelled bacteriophage T7 in both salt solution and mouse blood plasma, using just ~1 × 10⁻⁶ l of analyte. Unexpectedly, in the native blood plasma we discover a large background of naturally occurring nanoparticles with a power-law size distribution. The high-throughput detection capability, scalable fabrication and simple electronics of this instrument make it well suited for diverse applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteriophage T7 / isolation & purification*
  • Electronics / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Limit of Detection
  • Mice
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation*
  • Nanoparticles / analysis*
  • Particle Size
  • Plasma / chemistry
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Suspensions


  • Suspensions