Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), led by Trent Northen (pictured on the left) , a staff scientist at JBEI and Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division, have developed a high-throughput screening tool to support the development of lignocellulosic biofuels. High-Throughput Nanostructure-Initiator Mass Spectrometry (HT-NIMS) is a high-speed chemical screening system that can precisely determine the molecular composition of thousands of samples arrayed on a small slide of silicon at speeds 100 times faster than conventional methods.
HT-NIMS makes novel use of miniaturization, lasers, specialized chemistries, and robotics. In addition to the biofuels applications, the technology can also be used for a host of biological, bio-industrial, and medical uses, including discovering new drug prospects, cancer diagnostics, and clinical testing. Co-inventors with Northen were Berkeley Lab scientist Xiaoliang Cheng and San Diego, Calif.-based Nextval Inc.