Nanopipettes: probes for local sample analysis†
Nanopipettes (pipettes with diameters <1 μm) were explored as pressure-driven fluid manipulation tools for sampling nanoliter volumes of fluids. The fundamental behavior of fluids confined in the narrow channels of the nanopipette shank was studied to optimize sampling volume and probe geometry. This method was utilized to collect nanoliter volumes (<10 nL) of sample from single Allium cepa cells and live Drosophila melanogaster first instar larvae. Matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization-mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) was utilized to characterize the collected sample. The use of nanopipettes for surface sampling of mouse brain tissue sections was also explored. Lipid analyses were performed on mouse brain tissues with spatial resolution of sampling as small as 50 μm. Nanopipettes were shown to be a versatile tool that will find further application in studies of sample heterogeneity and population analysis for a wide range of samples.