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J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Dec 11;135(49):18292-5. doi: 10.1021/ja409815g. Epub 2013 Dec 2.

Nano-chemical infrared imaging of membrane proteins in lipid bilayers.

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Department of Physics and Department of Chemistry, ‡Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and §Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado , Boulder, Colorado, 80309, United States.


The spectroscopic characterization of biomolecular structures requires nanometer spatial resolution and chemical specificity. We perform full spatio-spectral imaging of dried purple membrane patches purified from Halobacterium salinarum with infrared vibrational scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM). Using near-field spectral phase contrast based on the Amide I resonance of the protein backbone, we identify the protein distribution with 20 nm spatial resolution and few-protein sensitivity. This demonstrates the general applicability of s-SNOM vibrational nanospectroscopy, with potential extension to a wide range of biomolecular systems.

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