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Friday, 30 October, 2009

When molecules need to concentrate

Optical traps collect even nanoparticles in fluids

Molecules in fluids are always moving. That becomes a problem, when they have to be concentrated at a certain place, for example to trigger chemical reactions or to investigate their bindings. In such cases, polymers and other structures have been used so far as so called molecular anchors, binding the investigated molecules. However this method manipulates the molecules themselves and thereby may distort the measurements. The NIM biophysicists Professor Dieter Braun and Franz Weinert at LMU München have now developed a „non-invasive“ optical molecule trap. „With our optical conveyor band we are able to establish high concentration gradients very fast, and to transport even a few nanometer small molecules", says Braun. „That enables us for example to characterize biological and other molecules.“ (Nanoletters online, October 2009)

To the complete press release (German)


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