Date Published: 30 August 2006

New technology using light to manipulate micro-sized objects may speed diagnoses

Health News from Australia.

A technology that uses light to precisely manipulate micro-sized objects has the potential to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and deliver faster, cheaper internet connections.

" Optical trapping technology has many applications, including the very precise manipulation of individual cells, allowing for faster, cheaper and more accurate diagnosis of diseases,"
according to Peter Domachuk, a postgraduate student in the School of Physics, University of Sydney.

" On the smaller scale, it is possible to similarly manipulate individual strands of DNA, again allowing the diagnosis of genetic conditions cheaply and rapidly using smaller samples,"
said Domachuck, the winner of recent writing competition for an essay he wrote about his research.

Although based at the University of Sydney, Domachuk is attached to CUDOS, The Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems - a five-university consortium funded by the ARC.

CUDOS's research promises to lead the creation of silicon chips with mechanical elements that can be manipulated using 'optical traps' for faster and cheaper diagnostics of cells and their surrounding environments.

" High-volume production of such chips could lead to medical advances, such as rapid development of vaccines to emerging pathogens like bird flu," Domachuck said.

The technology may also result in very compact optical devices for networking, resulting in cheaper internet access with higher speeds, with much less infrastructure than we use now.

Source(s): Sydney University (Australia).

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