Nanogap sensors have been developed to study various biochemical reactions such as DNA hybridization, protein conformation, and polymer formation. Recently, the nanogap sensors have been used to study the dielectric properties of water and ice. It is well known that water plays a vital role in many processes on the molecular level. Without water, there would be no cell membranes, no ion transport, no protein ligand interaction, and the list can go on ad nauseum. Although we recognize how important water is to these functions, the precise role of water is still not completely understood. This project is focused on the dielectric properties of water in nanocavities. These properties can quantify how tightly individual water molecules are bound to neighboring molecules, which can provide information on the involvement of water in molecular life. Most importantly, the size scale of these nanogap sensors is similar to the size scales found in and around cells, so nanogap sensors provide excellent platforms for studying these interactions.
Project end date: 09/07/05