Focal molography is a new method for the in situ analysis of molecular interactions in biological samples

Journal: Nature Nanotechnology

Published: 2017-09-25

DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2017.168

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 7

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Research Highlight

Molecular holograms light up biosensing

© MyFortis/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty

© MyFortis/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty

A new biosensing technique known as focal molography enables researchers to study the interactions of biological molecules in real time without labelling or extensive sample preparation. The technique was invented at Roche several years ago, but has only now been demonstrated in practice.

Biosensors typically involve binding the target molecules to a substrate and then washing off unwanted molecules before detection. In focal molography, the binding substrate is arranged in a specific striped pattern on a chip. A laser is then shined along the chip. If the target molecules are bound to the stripes, the beam diffracts and focuses on a single point on the detector; without target molecules, there is no diffraction and no signal. Non-target molecules do not cause diffraction, making the technique extremely specific.

Focal molography will facilitate studies of biomolecule secretion, cell-cell communication, and other subjects, and may eventually underlie the technology for a handheld diagnostic tool.

Supported content

  1. Nature Nanotechnology 12, 1089–1095 (2018). doi: 10.1038/nnano.2017.168
Institutions Share
UZH/ETH Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBT), Switzerland 0.43
Roche Deutschland Holding GmbH, Germany 0.29
F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Switzerland 0.29