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Methods in enzymology

Single-molecule spectroscopy using microfluidic platforms.


PMID 20580962

Abstract

Microfluidics serves as a convenient platform for single-molecule experiments by providing manipulation of small amounts of liquids and micron-sized particles. An adapted version of capillary electrophoresis (CE) on a microchip can be utilized to separate chemical species with high resolution based on their ionic mobilities (i.e., charges and sizes), but identification of separated species is not trivial, especially for complex mixtures of sticky biomolecules. We describe here how to use a surfactant mixture system for CE on a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microchip, capture separated peaks within a 50-pl chamber using microvalves, analyze the fluorescence signals with correlation spectroscopy to extract molecular diffusion characteristics, and to identify the biomolecular clusters in a model immunocomplex system.

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