Nano-Bio Interfaces

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Nanoscale tools serve as ideal interfaces to interrogate biological systems since the sizes of many nanostructures are comparable to that of typical biomolecules. Nanotechnology-based approaches focused on problems in life sciences are expected to bring substantial improvements of current technologies as well as innovations in biology, biotechnology and medicine. For example, there is an urgent need for ultrasensitive, highly specific detection technologies with advanced capabilities like real-time monitoring or high-resolution imaging. The availability of such tools will enhance our analytical capability to address the complexity of biological systems.


The activities in this research direction are aimed on one hand at tailoring nanostructures to attain controlled biological interfaces, while on the other hand at characterizing biological systems with a high resolution on the nanoscale.  Key experiments include electrical transport through carbon-based nanostructures, scanning probe microscopy in ultrahigh vacuum and electrospray mass spectrometry and ion beam deposition. Applied to biological systems they yield detectors of highest specificity and sensitivity or a sub-molecular resolution imaging technique for single biomolecules at surfaces. With these unique tools we are able to address fundamental questions concerning the behavior of biological systems down to the level of an individual molecule.


Responsible Scientists:

Dr. Kannan Balasubramanian (Nanobiosensors)

Dr. Stephan Rauschenbach (Electrospray Ion Beam Deposition)

Dr. Uta Schlickum (STM, AFM)


Team Members

Sabine Abb, Kannan Balasubramanian, Sebastian Koslowski, Lukas Krumbein, Stephan Rauschenbach, Suman Sen


Key Publications

Jean-Nicolas Longchamp, Stephan Rauschenbach, Sabine Abb, Conrad Escher, Taliana Latychevskaia, Klaus Kern, and Hans-Werner Fink
Imaging proteins at the single-molecule level
PNAS 114, 1474 (2017)

Stephan Rauschenbach, Gordon Rinke, Rico Gutzler, Sabine Abb, Alyazan Albarghash, Duy Le, Talat S Rahman, Michael Dürr, Ludger Harnau, and Klaus Kern
Two-Dimensional Folding of Polypeptides into Molecular Nanostructures
ACS Nano, DOI: : 10.1021/acsnano.6b06145 (2017)

Sabine Abb, Ludger Harnau, Rico Gutzler, Stephan Rauschenbach, and Klaus Kern
Two-Dimensional Honeycomb Network through Sequence-Controlled Self-Assembly of Oligopeptides
Nature Commun. 7, 10335 (2016)

Laura Zuccaro, Cinzia Tesauro, Tetiana Kurkina, Paola Fiorani, Hak Ki Yu, Birgitta R. Knudsen, Klaus Kern, Alessandro Desideri, and Kannan Balasubramanian
Real-time label-free direct electronic monitoring of topoisomerase enzyme binding kinetics on graphene
ACS Nano 9, 11166 (2015)

K. Balasubramanian, K. Kern
25th Anniversary Article: Label-free electrical biodetection using carbon nanostructures
Adv. Mater. 26 (2014) 1154.

G. Rinke, S. Rauschenbach, L. Harnau, A. Albarghash, M. Pauly, and K. Kern
Active Conformation Control of Unfolded Proteins by Hyperthermal Collision with a Metal Surface
Nano Lett. 14, 5609 (2014)

S. Rauschenbach, G. Rinke, N. Malinowski, R. T. Weitz, R. Dinnebier, N. Thontasen, Z. Deng, T. Lutz, P. M. de Almeida Rollo, G. Costantini, L. Harnau and K. Kern
Crystalline Inverted Membranes Grown on Surfaces by Electrospray Ion Beam Deposition in Vacuum
Adv. Mater. 24 (2012) 2761-2767

Z. Deng, N. Thontasen, N. Malinowski, G. Rinke, L. Harnau, S. Rauschenbach and K. Kern
A Close Look at Proteins: Submolecular Resolution of Two- and Three-Dimensionally Folded Cytochrome c at Surfaces
Nano Lett. 12 (2012) 2452-2458

K. Balasubramanian, T. Kurkina, A. Ahmad, M. Burghard and K. Kern
Tuning the functional interface of carbon nanotubes by electrochemistry: Towards nanoscale chemical and biosensors
J. Mater. Res. (2012)
T. Kurkina, A. Vlandas, A. Ahmad, K. Kern and K. Balasubramanian
Label-free detection of few copies of DNA with carbon nanotube impedance biosensors
Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 50, 3710 (2011)
A. Vlandas, T. Kurkina, A. Ahmad, K. Kern and K. Balasubramanian
Enzyme-free sugar sensing in microfluidic channels with an affinity based single-wall carbon nanotube sensor
Anal. Chem. 82, 6090 (2010)

S. Rauschenbach, F. L. Stadler, E. Lunedei, N. Malinowski, S. Koltsov, G. Costantini & K. Kern
Electrospray Ion Beam Deposition of Clusters and Biomolecules
Small 2, 540-547 (2006)

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