Hemantha Kumar Wickramasinghe, Ph.D.
Hemantha Kumar Wickramasinghe
The Henry Samueli Endowed Chair and Professor
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, UC Irvine
Speech Title: 
Measuring and Manipulating Single Molecules For Biological Applications
We describe experiments and techniques for measuring and manipulating molecules at the single molecule level. Tapered co-axial Silicon probes have been built and modified to trap molecules via a local dielectrophoretic force. Inserting such probes into living cells allows one to extract and analyze mRNA levels (at copy numbers ranging from 5 to 2000 molecules) in space and time and therefore can be used to study the effects of drugs and pathogens. Arrays of such probes made on a single Silicon chip can be used to capture extremely small (femto molar) concentrations of biomolecules in solution and in the atmosphere. It therefore has the potential to be used as a sensitive detection tool for disease detection and for pathogens.

H. Kumar Wickramasinghe, Ph.D., is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and respected pioneer in nanotechnology. Prior to joining UC Irvine, Wickramasinghe managed nanoscience and technology research at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. Holding 70 patents, some of his most significant inventions and contributions to the nano field include the development of the vibrating mode atomic force microscope (AFM), the magnetic force microscope, the electrostatic force microscope, the Kelvin probe force microscope, the scanning thermal microscope, and the apertureless near-field optical microscope. Most of these scanning probe microscopes are standard instruments used today for nano-scale characterization.

His AFM jet device for rapid molecule sorting and delivery was named one of the 25 most innovative products of 2006 in the inaugural “MICRO/NANO 25” competition held by the editors of R&D magazine and the MICRO/NANO Newsletter.

Wickramasinghe is an IBM Fellow and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology, as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Royal Microscopical Society.

November 20-21, 2013