Force spectroscopy is a single molecule technique that allows the real-time study of molecular interactions on the nano scale. Originating from the broad field of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), force spectroscopy provides the necessary sensitivity to characterize biomolecular interactions such as the unfolding forces of single proteins or forces of a single chemical bond.
JPK's ForceRobot® system.
JPK Instruments have been leading the way in the development of force spectroscopy as a routine technique for the life sciences AFM community. With this expertise and through close cooperation with scientific pioneers in this field, JPK is now making force spectroscopy available to a broad range of scientists with the ForceRobot®.
It features a rigid head design with excellent low noise and drift specifications that is mounted on an integrated vibration isolated platform. However, the most exciting capability is the unattended operation capability to make up to 80,000 force curve measurements in 24 hours with the ability to customise individual experiments with varying parameters such as temperature or loading rate.
It has designed with the experimentalist in mind. Open software design enables great flexibility in establishing measurement and analysis protocols. The system may be monitored remotely enabled through an Internet interface.
The benefits to the user and potential for new applications are clear. Manual operation has prevented such a large measurement capacity and by having this combinatorial-like ability to screen different samples under extremely well-controlled experimental conditions is exciting. No longer will there be the need for averaging, labelling or indirect conclusions but a system delivering clear-cut results with forces and distances delivered in absolute numbers.