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The Nano eNabler System™
Nanoarrays vs. Microarrays 

Nanoarrays vs. Microarrays

Nanoarrays utilize approximately 1/10,000th
of the surface area occupied by a conventional microarray.

Comparison of a state-of-the-art microarray spot and NanoArrays of various spot densities.
Over 1,500 NanoArray spots can be placed in the area occupied by a single microarray spot.

During the past several years, the solid phase microarray format has emerged as the preferred method for high throughput, highly-parallel hybridization testing for DNA and RNA samples. Microarray methods are rapidly being ported over to the emerging proteomics market. Assays on microarrays are commonly read using optical properties such as fluorescence, which requires that a fluorescently-labeled molecule (or groups of molecular species), be used to interrogate the array and report a binding interaction by the accumulation of a fluorescent signal at a specific location in the microarray. This method is extremely fast and quantitative, and, therefore, quite powerful. However, currently available microarray technology suffers from certain limitations that prohibit the exploitation of the full range of life science applications.

BioForce Nanosciences has taken the technology of the microarray to the next level by creating the "nanoarray," an ultra-miniaturized version of the traditional microarray that can actually measure interactions between individual molecules down to resolutions of as little as one nanometer (one billionth of a meter). Nanoarrays are the next evolutionary step in the miniaturization of bioaffinity tests for proteins, nucleic acids, and receptor-ligand pairs. On a BioForce NanoArray™, as many as 1,500 different samples can be queried in the same area now needed for just one domain on a traditional microarray.


1) Very small quantities of sample required. The nanometer-scale resolution capabilities of BioForce's technology offer many advantages in the emerging field of functional proteomics. Unlike nucleic acids, which can easily be multiplied by amplification methods, individual proteins cannot be easily increased in quantity. Using nanoarray technology, very small quantities of individual proteins can now be effectively screened against a large set of drug or diagnostic targets. In addition, nanoarrays can be incorporated as sensors in ways that would be impossible with larger microarrays.

2) Platform flexibility. Because the NanoReader™ recognizes when a protein-to-protein interaction has occurred by detecting a sub-micron change in the actual height of the bonded domain, the requirement for "reporter" elements is completely eliminated. Conventional microarrays require reporter substances to quickly identify which domains have reacted with the particular substance being screened. Not only does the use of reporters constitute an extra step in the screening process, but the function of the parent molecule may be substantially altered by attaching a reporter. In addition, many fluorescent reporters lose their luminescence over time. The use of the NanoArrayer™ system avoids these problems. However, in instances when the use of a photo-reporter is desired, the NanoArrayer™ system can be easily modified to work with a traditional optical detection system.

3) Precious sample preservation. Unlike traditional microarrays, nanoarrays can be used "in solution." Microarrays, once exposed to the target protein, must be removed from solution and rinsed before they are scanned to see whether or not there have been any "hits." Not only does this take time, but the rinsing process can also easily result in the degradation of the array itself. By contrast, the NanoReader™ can be used to read the NanoArray™ while it is still immersed in solution, which may be the blood or lymph fluid drawn from a patient. This capability proves to be invaluable in cases where speed of detection and diagnosis is critical.