Faster structure determinations to benefit nanotechnology

Faster structure determinations to benefit nanotechnology

Two stories report new tools that should accelerate nanotech development by providing scientists with faster determination of molecular structures. In the first technique an atomic force microscope tip is followed by a laser beam to produce spectroscopic data as it traces an individual strand of RNA. The second advance is a tabletop synchrotron that will make it much easier for researchers to obtain high-quality protein structures, thus accelerating the design-build-test cycle for the protein and protein-like polymer path to productive nanosystems.

From Science Daily “Direct sequencing of DNA, RNA using novel technique“:

Volker Deckert and his team at the Institute for Analytical Sciences (ISAS) in Dortmund have recently developed a method that could provide a way to directly sequence DNA. Their process is based on a combination of Raman spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy. They have successfully analyzed DNA’s closest relative, RNA.

Corinna Wu, writing in Technology Review: “A miniature synchrotron: Researchers get a new tool to determine protein structures“:

This miniature synchrotron offers scientists a new way to perform high-quality x-ray experiments in their own labs.

…[For determining protein structures] synchrotron radiation has advantages over ordinary x-ray sources: It’s a hundred million times brighter and highly concentrated, which allows for very precise, high-resolution experiments.


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  1. […] When people insist on shoehorning developments in biology into nanotechnology, it makes me grimace. Improved structure determination may help with engineered nanostructures, but that’s almost an aside. […]

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