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Scientific Profile

The work of the Biopolymers group covers three topics: the structural investigation of aggregated proteins in amyloid fibrils, the sequencing of DNA/RNA strands and the identification of individual components of microorganisms. In the experiments, near- and far-field Raman spectroscopic methods are used to characterize samples from the micrometer to the nanometer scale. This way, label-free insights into the structural and chemical composition of biological surfaces are obtained which are inaccessible with other methods. 

In particular, tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) enables morphological and structural characterization of biopolymers with high sensitivity (single molecule basis) and high spatial resolution (< 1 nm). 

Research Topics

  • Structural analysis of native and aggregated proteins
  • Differentiation of single bases in nucleic acids
  • Identification of proteins, lipids and polysaccharides on biological surfaces 

In the experiments, the chemical structure of biopolymers is investigated label-free and non-destructively on a single particle basis under in-vitro conditions. The identification and localization of individual structural elements on microorganisms allows conclusions to be drawn about their surface composition. 

Addressed application fields

  • Analysis of biopolymers under different environmental conditions
  • Development of homogeneous molecular surfaces as model interfaces
  • Correlation of topography and chemical composition of biological surfaces
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