VS. OTHER PARTICLE DETECTION METHODS
The principle technologies for nano-particle detection in use today are mass spectrometry ("MS") and electron microscopy ("EM"). Both include several variants and feature excellent resolution in their usable size ranges.
However, both MS and EM remain slow, expensive, and virtually impossible to use outside a laboratory. Moreover, the methods require vacuum or freezing, inhibiting the characterization of organic particles in their native state. In addition, EM is not a flow-based instrument, limiting its effectiveness for quantification.
Ion Mobility Spectrometry ("IMS"), first commercialized in the 1970s, offers a faster, lower cost, and less destructive method to "see" particles in the elusive 1-200 nanometer range. Drift Tube and Traveling Wave IMS have shown good resolutions at the low end of this range but are still mostly used as a front-end separator for MS. Stand-alone products for bio-marker detection remain in development.
ES-DMA is an IMS method that is the basis for our NanoRanger and IonRanger systems. Recent innovations by Yale's Prof. Juan Fernandez de la Mora, licensed to NanoEngineering Corporation, have increased resolution by an order of magnitude.
ES-DMA offers the best resolution for >20 nm particles where speed, cost and minimal sample disruption are important.
VS. OTHER VIRUS TEST METHODS
Today, the main methods to test for viruses are PCR - The "Gold Standard" - and Antigen "Rapid" Test.
PCR has earned its reputation for accuracy, with approximately 98% sensitivity and 99% specificity in COVID-19 tests. Antigen tests are materially less accurate, with sensitivity of about 80%, meaning one in five tests produce a false negative. Both tests are well established for COVID-19, with many brands currently in production.
Compared to these tests, ES-DMA has many advantages:
With no reagents and large economies of scale, and no "go-stale" date, ES-DMA virus testing is cost competitive per test. Considering that all viruses can be tested at once, the potential cost advantages are enormous.
Unlike biological tests, ES-DMA is a physics-based test, requiring no expensive virus-specific reagents.
Today's ES-DMA systems from NanoEngineering sit on a benchtop and run on 40W of DC power. Future versions will be smaller, rugged, portable and even easier to operate.
Tests for all Viruses
Because ES-DMA distinguishes particles by size, it is out-of-the-box "ready" to detect any virus in a sample. One might say ES-DMA is "universally multiplexed."
ES-DMA tests require 1-2 minutes run-time. NanoEngineering has demonstrated sample prep time of less than one hour, and is currently testing 5-10 minute methods.
Unlike PCR and Antigen testing, ES-DMA detects virion capsids directly, counting individual particles, reducing the probabiity of systematic error (e.g. false positives from DNA fragments)
VS. OTHER ES-DMA
NanoEngineering's patented DMA technology offers resolution approaching a full order of magnitude better than commercial systems available today.
Our systems feature duo-pole electro-spray ionization technology, also licensed from Yale University. Vs. other techniques such as Radio-isotopes and soft x-ray, duo-pole ES is safer, easier to operate, less expensive, and less disruptive to samples.
Our systems are also more automated and user friendly than any other ES-DMA on the market. NanoEngineering's systems feature programmable control of all major operating parameters, digital camera control of both electro-spray taylor cones, 100% leak-proofing, safety engineering for virus samples.