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Physics - Measuring the nanoworld

Researchers establish a benchmark for the accurate determination of internal dimensions within individual molecules.


By exploiting a phenomenon known as Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), it is possible to monitor the motions of single molecules in living cells in real time. The data provided by single-molecule FRET therefore yield important insights into the structural dynamics of the molecular machinery which is the basis of life. A worldwide study involving 20 laboratories has now succeeded in enhancing the utility and precision of the method significantly. Three groups at LMU, led by Prof. Thorben Cordes, Prof. Don C. Lamb, and Prof. Philip Tinnefeld, contributed to the study, which was recently published in Nature Methods.