The reactive ion etching of sapphire for molecular biology
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International Student Symposium on Mechanics, Microtechnology and Microcomputers "STUSYM`2000" (XIII ; Łódź, Polska)
As the twentieth century was the time of technological revolution, the era of physics and electronics, many scientists judge that the twenty first century will be the century of molecular biology. The discovery of a DNA structure by Watson and Crick, published in 1953 in Nature , has started this new revolution. The second part of twentieth century has brought the different methods of DNA sequencing and separating, the possibility of the modifications in DNA through cloning. The Human Genome Project (HGP)  which will be totally finished by 2003 or sooner, will allow us to know all human genome which contains roughly 3 billion base pairs and between 30 000 and 120 000 genes. On June 26lh of 2000 President Clinton, leaders of the HGP and representatives of the biotechnology company Celera announced the completion of a "working draft" reference DNA sequence of the human genome. The achievement provides scientists worldwide with a road map to an estimated 90% Df genes on every chromosome. This quick research on human genome was possible only thanks to very rapid development of the new tools for DNA analysis. Modern DNA sequencers are automated, much quicker that conventional methods and easier to use. The next goal is to miniaturise the conventional techniques. In 1992, Manz published the first papers about separating biomolecules on the chip . In 1999 the first chip was made commercially available thanks to Hewlett Packard. A lot of research is done and still is needed to be done in this subject. Very quick, modern, small and heap DNA sequencers are the aim of research in this area. Plasma technology is widely used to modify the surface properties of materials . For instance chemically reactive plasmas are used in etching, films deposition, ion implantation and the unique modification of the properties of materials. In this research the process of reactive ion etching is used for manufacturing the microstructures on sapphire substrate. Sapphire is a very difficult material to etch. But the very good physical properties of sapphire put it in a special position for molecular biology. Such sapphire microdevices can be a heart of modern DNA sequencer.
Bibliogr. 11 poz.
- Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine High Energy Physics Group; Blackett Laboratory, Prince Consort Road; London SW7 2BZ; UK, email@example.com
- Technical University of Lodz; Mechanical Faculty Stefanowskiego 1/15; Lodz; Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine High Energy Physics Group; Blackett Laboratory, Prince Consort Road; London SW7 2BZ; UK