Although proteins are the foundation of life on Earth, up until now it has been impossible to reliably capture a single protein in an image. Thanks to science and graphene — bonded carbon just one atom thick — we finally have a picture of one of the most building blocks of living organisms.
Researchers from Switzerland and Germany released a report detailing how they were able to take a photo of a single protein molecule on an “ultra clean” graphene surface. Using low-energy electron holography, the scientists were able to capture the shape of proteins without degradation.
To put that in context: the camera was able to capture an object just a few nanometers in length.
Identifying the structural details of single proteins could mean a breakthrough in biological analysis. Now that scientists have a possibly reliable method to take pictures of individual proteins that have been difficult to capture.
This could lead to important things, including potential breakthroughs in treatments for protein-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
➤ First ever pictures of single proteins thanks to graphene sheet [New Scientist]