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22 February 2008 Biomolecular motors challenge imaging and enable sensing
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Biomolecular motors, such as the motor protein kinesin, are simultaneously objects of scientific inquiry and components for nanotechnology. The investigation of the properties of a biomolecular motor is challenging, since it is a dynamic nanoscale object but at the same time soft and fragile. Photonic techniques are well suited to these investigations due to their compatibility with an aqueous environment and their non-destructive character, however their resolution is often insufficient. We adapted Fluorescence Interference Contrast (FLIC) microscopy to the imaging of microtubules transported by kinesin motors (PNAS vol. 103, p. 15812) and achieved nm-resolution in the z-direction. This advance provided insights into the role of the kinesin tail for the functioning of the motor in vivo, but also enabled us to determine the "ground clearance" of molecular shuttles powered by kinesin motors. Kinesin-driven molecular shuttles, in turn, enable the design of highly integrated bionanodevices. Photons are the most suitable tool to communicate with such devices, since they can address molecules and nanoparticles packaged into the devices without the need for a physical connection.
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Henry Hess, Thorsten Fischer, Ashutosh Agarwal, Parag Katira, Isaac Finger, Elizabeth Mobley, Robert Tucker, Jacob Kerssemakers, and Stefan Diez "Biomolecular motors challenge imaging and enable sensing", Proc. SPIE 6865, Nanoscale Imaging, Sensing, and Actuation for Biomedical Applications V, 686505 (22 February 2008);

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