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Anal Chem. 2008 May 1;80(9):3450-7. doi: 10.1021/ac8000385. Epub 2008 Mar 26.

Sizing subcellular organelles and nanoparticles confined within aqueous droplets.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Box 351700, Seattle, Washington 98195-1700, USA.


This article describes two complementary techniques, single-particle tracking and correlation spectroscopy, for accurately sizing nanoparticles confined within picoliter volume aqueous droplets. Single-particle tracking works well with bright particles that can be continuously illuminated and imaged, and we demonstrated this approach for sizing single fluorescent beads. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy detects small intensity bursts from particles or molecules diffusing through the confocal probe volume, which works well with dim and rapidly diffusing particles or molecules; we demonstrated FCS for sizing synaptic vesicles confined in aqueous droplets. In combination with recent advances in droplet manipulations and analysis, we anticipate this capability to size single nanoparticles and molecules in free solution will complement existing tools for probing cellular systems, subcellular organelles, and nanoparticles.

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