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Single-protein nanomechanical mass spectrometry in real time.

OPEN Nature nanotechnology | 27 Aug 2012

MS Hanay, S Kelber, AK Naik, D Chi, S Hentz, EC Bullard, E Colinet, L Duraffourg and ML Roukes
Abstract
Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) resonators can detect mass with exceptional sensitivity. Previously, mass spectra from several hundred adsorption events were assembled in NEMS-based mass spectrometry using statistical analysis. Here, we report the first realization of single-molecule NEMS-based mass spectrometry in real time. As each molecule in the sample adsorbs on the resonator, its mass and position of adsorption are determined by continuously tracking two driven vibrational modes of the device. We demonstrate the potential of multimode NEMS-based mass spectrometry by analysing IgM antibody complexes in real time. NEMS-based mass spectrometry is a unique and promising new form of mass spectrometry: it can resolve neutral species, provide a resolving power that increases markedly for very large masses, and allow the acquisition of spectra, molecule-by-molecule, in real time.
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Concepts
Spectroscopy, Mass spectrometry
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