Using a principle familiar from classic devices based on soft-lithography, we used pneumatic pressure to deflect a thin nitride lid into a nanoslit, confining molecules in an array of cavities embedded in the slit. We use this system to quantify the interactions of multiple confined DNA chains in a nanoscale box, a key problem in polymer physics with important implications for nanofluidic device performance and DNA partitioning/organization in bacteria and eukaryotes.
Fig. 3 (a) A nanoscale nitride membrane is deformed by applied pressure to seal off an array of nanoscale cavities. (b) Device design showing access microchannels, deflection membrane and SEM of cavity boxes. (c) Two DNA identical molecules, with different fluorescent stain, imaged trapped in sealed cavity-box: note the polymers segregate (i.e. do not mix).