Elion was founded to provide tools for macromolecule deposition directly into vacuum. Many of the enabling technologies were developed through participation in a Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation ("Development of a Deposition System for 3D Patterning of Molecular Materials in Vacuum"). The founder of Elion, Dr. M. Anthony, was a co-PI with Dr. R. Schlaf of the University of South Florida on this project, with primary responsibility for ion beam optics and hardware design.
The prototype patterning system for the MRI grant is currently in operation in Dr. Schlaf's surface science lab. The figure at the upper right shows an image of a focused beam of Cytochrome C ions on an imaging microchannel plate from this prototype system.
Elion has also explored both mechanical sample scanning and direct electrostatic beam scanning as patterning techniques. The figure at the lower right shows a simple pattern generated via mechanical scanning - the letter E is 3.2 mm x 2.4 mm. This deposition utilized the electrospray of goat anti-E. coli O157:H7 antibodies, and deposition was performed on a glass substrate in low vacuum immediately behind the electrospray capillary. Lab exposure to AF647 fluorescently tagged donkey anti-goat antibodies allowed the resultant image. Although mechanical scanning is not a rapid process, it demonstrates the possibility of easy patterning, as well as the viability of biological molecules after vacuum deposition.
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