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Friday, 30 October, 2009

When molecules have to concentrate

Optical traps accumulate even nanoparticles in fluids

Molecules in fluids constantly stay in motion and are difficult to concentrate in one spot. Such measures are necessary, for instance, to trigger certain reactions or to investigate bonds between molecules and other substances. So-called molecular anchors, polymers for example at which the investigated molecules accumulate, are used for such tasks. These anchors can, however, affect the molecules and thus the experimental results. LMU Munich biophysicists Professor Dieter Braun und Franz Weinert now developed a "non invasive" optical molecule trap. "Our optical conveyor creates very quickly large concentration gradients, even for molecules that are only nanometres small,” says Brown. “This provides us with an opportunity to characterize biological and other molecules." (Nanoletters online, October 2009) (...)

 

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