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Biochemistry With the Scanning Tunneling Microscope

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000120422D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-02
Document File: 2 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Gerber, CE: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The general idea to modify matter, or to perform reactions on molecules, has met with a problem of size. It has only recently been proposed [1,2] to use the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) or of an atomic force microscope (AFM) for transporting individual atoms to specific sites.

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Biochemistry With the Scanning Tunneling Microscope

      The general idea to modify matter, or to perform
reactions on molecules, has met with a problem of size.  It has only
recently been proposed [1,2] to use the tip of a scanning tunneling
microscope (STM) or of an atomic force microscope (AFM) for
transporting individual atoms to specific sites.

      With a standard tip, it is possible to excite an individual
chemical bond composed of two electrons and transform it into two
radicals.  Radicals are very reactive; they can react in a random
fashion with any neighboring atom, and it has so far not been
possible  to control the radical reaction so that it takes a
predetermined reaction path.  This is particularly true for
biological matter which is always composed of large and complex
molecules where reactions can take several possible directions.

      A practical solution to control a wide variety of biochemical
reactions is to use the natural properties of specific enzymes, i.e.,
their substrate and reaction specificity, for guiding these
reactions.  With such enzymes, the reactions take only one out of the
number of possible paths, with an efficiency close to 100%.  To
accomplish this, the enzymes are brought to the desired reaction site
with the aid of the STM/AFM tip.

      This approach is most useful where identical reactions have to
be carried out at a specific site along a linear molecule which is
composed of a large number of similar co...