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 A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>