Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers invent new tool to study single biological molecules

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers, left to right, Sanjeevi Sivasankar, Chi-Fu Yen and Hui Li have invented microscope technology to study single biological molecules. Larger photo. Photo by Bob Elbert.
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers, left to right, Sanjeevi Sivasankar, Chi-Fu Yen and Hui Li have invented microscope technology to study single biological molecules. Larger photo.

Photo by Bob Elbert.

Abstract:
By blending optical and atomic force microscope technologies, Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have found a way to complete 3-D measurements of single biological molecules with unprecedented accuracy and precision.

Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers invent new tool to study single biological molecules

Ames. IA | Posted on August 4th, 2012

Existing technologies allow researchers to measure single molecules on the x and y axes of a 2-D plane. The new technology allows researchers to make height measurements (the z axis) down to the nanometer - just a billionth of a meter - without custom optics or special surfaces for the samples.

"This is a completely new type of measurement that can be used to determine the z position of molecules," said Sanjeevi Sivasankar, an Iowa State assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory.

Details of the technology were recently published by the journal Nano Letters. Co-authors of the study are Sivasankar; Hui Li, an Iowa State post-doctoral research associate in physics and astronomy and an associate of the Ames Laboratory; and Chi-Fu Yen, an Iowa State doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering and a student associate of the Ames Laboratory.

The project was supported by lab startup funds from Iowa State University and a $120,075 grant from the Grow Iowa Values Fund, a state economic development program.

Sivasankar's research program has two objectives: to learn how biological cells adhere to each other and to develop new tools to study those cells.

That's why the new microscope technology - called standing wave axial nanometry (SWAN) - was developed in Sivasankar's lab.

Here's how the technology works: Researchers attach a commercial atomic force microscope to a single molecule fluorescence microscope. The tip of the atomic force microscope is positioned over a focused laser beam, creating a standing wave pattern. A molecule that has been treated to emit light is placed within the standing wave. As the tip of the atomic force microscope moves up and down, the fluorescence emitted by the molecule fluctuates in a way that corresponds to its distance from the surface. That distance can be compared to a marker on the surface and measured.

"We can detect the height of the molecule with nanometer accuracy and precision," Sivasankar said.

The paper reports that measurements of a molecule's height are accurate to less than a nanometer. It also reports that measurements can be taken again and again to a precision of 3.7 nanometers.

Sivasankar's research team used fluorescent nanospheres and single strands of DNA to calibrate, test and prove their new instrument.

Users who could benefit from the technology include medical researchers who need high-resolution data from microscopes. Sivasankar thinks the technology has commercial potential and is confident it will advance his own work in single molecule biophysics.

"We hope to use this technology to move that research forward," he said. "And in doing that, we'll continue to invent new technologies."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sanjeevi Sivasankar

515-294-1220

Copyright © Iowa State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Imaging

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Nanobiotix: The Independent Data Monitoring Committee Recommends the Continuation of the Ongoing Phase II/III Trial of NBTXR3 in Soft Tissue Sarcoma March 23rd, 2017

Nanoparticle paves the way for new triple negative breast cancer drug March 20th, 2017

Block copolymer micellization as a protection strategy for DNA origami March 17th, 2017

Discoveries

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Announcements

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Tools

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Caught on camera -- chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level March 22nd, 2017

CRMGroup in Belgium uses a Deben three point bending stage in the development of new steel & coated steel products for automotive and other industrial applications March 21st, 2017

Next-gen steel under the microscope March 18th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Nanobiotix: The Independent Data Monitoring Committee Recommends the Continuation of the Ongoing Phase II/III Trial of NBTXR3 in Soft Tissue Sarcoma March 23rd, 2017

Nanoparticle paves the way for new triple negative breast cancer drug March 20th, 2017

Block copolymer micellization as a protection strategy for DNA origami March 17th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project