Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Measuring the Nanoworld: Rulers made of DNA

10.12.2012
TU Braunschweig: Scientists facilitate comparison of microscopes on the nanoscale

For only a few years, it has been possible to resolve biological structures down to the molecular scale with light microscopy, termed super-resolution microscopy. This has led to a number of new insights into biological processes.


The scheme shows a rectangle crafted from DNA with two lines of fluorophores at a distance of 70 nm. With a perfectly aligned super-resolution microscope, these lines can be resolved as is visible in the image on the right. This approach allows the construction of a multitude of structures for various types of super-resolution microscopy.

TU Braunschweig/PCI

However, there have been limits to the techniques: so far it has been difficult to distinguish between sample specific and microscope specific error sources if the images were blurry. Moreover, different techniques could not easily be compared. This issue has recently been resolved by the Technical University of Braunschweig (Nature Methods, December 2012, doi:10.1038/nmeth.2254).

Scientists from the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry developed special self-assembled nanorulers. These nanorulers are used to evaluate resolution and light-sensitivity of microscopes on the nanoscale. “In analogy to distance marks on a common ruler, spots with a defined number of fluorescent dye molecules are employed as marks”, the group leader Prof. Philip Tinnefeld describes the main principle. The scaffold of these structures is a long circular DNA molecule which is folded in the desired shape by adding hundreds of short complementary DNA staple strands. Millions of these so-called DNA origami structures can be assembled simultaneously in a single step. Depending on the desired application, the structures can be reprogrammed to host various dye molecules at different positions.

With these nanorulers the scientists can now evaluate the performance of microscopes and different microscopy techniques. The rulers can be adjusted to different sensitivities and resolutions of all common optical super-resolution techniques. Especially for the resolution range of 6-200 nm, which has become accessible a few years ago, the nanorulers provide the possibility to compare currently competing microscopy techniques.

This research has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Biophotonik IV program of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The results possess large economic potential as manufacturers of microscopes (e.g. Leica or Zeiss) started to bring „super-resolution microscopes“ to market. In the future, the nanorulers will be distributed by the spin-off company STS Nanotechnology.

Metrology in Braunschweig:

Not only the National Metrology Institute (PTB) is based in the city. A number of institutes bundled in the Metrology Initiative Braunschweig is developing new metrological methods.

Publication:

“Fluorescence and super-resolution standards based on DNA origami”. Jürgen J. Schmied, Andreas Gietl, Phil Holzmeister, Carsten Forthmann, Christian Steinhauer, Thorben Dammeyer and Philip Tinnefeld. (Nature Methods, December 7th, 2012, doi:10.1038/nmeth.2254.)

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Philip Tinnefeld
Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie
Technische Universität Braunschweig
Tel.: +49 531- 391 5330
E-Mail: p.tinnefeld@tu-bs.de

Dr. Elisabeth Hoffmann | idw
Further information:
http://www.tu-bs.de
http://www.tu-braunschweig.de/pci/forschung/tinnefeld

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>