One-step Protein Analysis using Slanted Nanofilter Array

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Professor Jongyoon Han
Research Laboratory of Electronics, EECS, MIT
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Michelle Hunt
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
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One-step Protein Analysis using Slanted Nanofilter Array

PCT Patent Application WO 2016-044710

One-step Protein Analysis using Slanted Nanofilter Array

US Patent Pending
A nanofilter array chip for fast gel-free biomolecule separation
Applied Physics Letters, 87, 263902 (2005).
A patterned anisotropic nanofluidic sieving structure for continuous-flow separation of DNA and proteins
Nature Nanotechnology, 2, 121-128 (2007).
Artificial molecular sieves and filters: a new paradigm for biomolecule separation
Trends in Biotechnology, 26(6), 311-320 (2008).
Rapid Quantification of Disease-Marker Proteins Using Continuous-Flow Immunoseparation in a Nanosieve Fluidic Device
Analytical Chemistry, 81, 7067–7074 (2009).
Continuous-flow bioseparation using microfabricated anisotropic nanofluidic sieving structures
Nature Protocols, 4, 1681 – 1698 (2009).
Continuous-Flow Biomolecule Concentration and Detection in a Slanted Nanofilter Array
Lab on a Chip, 12(21), 4441-4448 (2012).
MicroTAS, 2014 p. 2417-2419.


Protein pre-concentration and size separation for point-of-care biologic quality / purity testing, filtration and separation of nanomaterials (e.g. nanoparticles, nanotubes), DNA separation and sequencing

Problem Addressed

This technology provides a one-step process for protein pre-concentration and separation by size but requiring minute amount of sample volume. 


Size-based separation of proteins is widely used to check the purity of protein drugs in the pharmaceutical manufacturing process and to insure the absence of toxic impurities. Drawbacks of existing methods such as size exclusion chromatography, SDS-PAGE and gel electrophoresis include laborious manual processing, low separation resolution, low sensitivity and low accuracy due to adsorption of the sample molecules onto the sieving matrix. The current technology provides a new platform nanofluidic chip for potentially automated, single step protein analysis. The device, composed of slanted nanofilter arrays with periodically-patterned deep and shallow nanoslits, demonstrates both protein pre-concentration and size based protein separation as a one-step process. This is done by having two regions within the device with different angles (135 degrees for pre-concentration and 45 degrees for separation). The protein mixture is mechanically focused (pre-concentrated) at the bottom edge of the channel and then size-separated into a different stream continuously. 


  • Rapid (30 minutes)
  • Single device, one-step process
  • Continuous monitoring (real-time release)
  • Small sample volume
  • High reproducibility
  • Robust and reusable device (years)