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Single Molecule Detection, Analysis, and Manipulation

Biomolecules Analysis

  1. Nils G. Walter

Published Online: 15 DEC 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0213m.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Walter, N. G. 2008. Single Molecule Detection, Analysis, and Manipulation. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2008


Single molecule detection represents the ultimate goal in analytical chemistry. Both confocal and wide-field microscopes are now widely used to detect, analyze, and manipulate single molecules in samples ranging in complexity from controlled in vitro conditions to the inside of living cells. Conformational rearrangements and chemical reactions of single molecules can be monitored in real time to detect rare and/or short-lived intermediates and molecular heterogeneity. The molecular motion of single molecules or particles can be followed at high temporal and spatial resolution. Individual molecules can be repeatedly manipulated and their mechanical properties measured using calibrated forces. The current status of the analytical chemistry of single molecules is surveyed here, including fluorescence microscopy, optical tweezers, and atomic force microscopy (AFM).