A diagram of the device, and a fluorescence micrograph showing nanoparticles separated by it
If you had to sort a bunch of nanoparticles by size, what would you use? A microscope, tweezers, and a very finely-calibrated caliper? Actually, you’d probably use the nanofluidic “multi-tool” created by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US. Before you start picturing a teeny-tiny Leatherman, which would admittedly be pretty cool, you should be aware that the NIST device is more like a coin separator, that sorts your nickels, dimes and quarters. In this case, however, they would be nickels, dimes and quarters that are smaller than a bacterium.