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The heart of tech

This article was published on January 11, 2016

    See this amazing photo of a single protein on a graphene surface

    See this amazing photo of a single protein on a graphene surface Image by: ERIC PIERMONT
    Lauren Hockenson
    Story by

    Lauren Hockenson

    Reporter

    Lauren is a reporter for The Next Web, based in San Francisco. She covers the key players that make the tech ecosystem what it is right now. Lauren is a reporter for The Next Web, based in San Francisco. She covers the key players that make the tech ecosystem what it is right now. She also has a folder full of dog GIFs and uses them liberally on Twitter at @lhockenson.

    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.

    Screenshot 2016-01-10 08.58.21

    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]