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Tuesday, 22 May, 2012

Building Site for Molecular Complexes

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Often the sum is greater than its parts. Using an atomic force microscope as a “crane”, LMU researchers have succeeded in bringing two biomolecules together to form an active complex – with nanometer precision and built-in quality control.

The business end of the atomic force microscope (AFM) is its needle-sharp tip. It can be used to pick single molecules from a substrate and move them to specific positions with the precision of a few nanometers. This “single-molecule cut-and-paste” procedure was developed by LMU physicist Professor Hermann Gaub, and he and his colleagues have now used it to assemble a functional molecular complex from inactive, single-molecule building blocks.

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