Single biomolecule chromatography: investigating molecular level interactions in nanochannels (BioChrom)

Despite the many advancements in separation science, there remains a need for new separation materials with tailored selectivity and capacity and moreover, new detection methods that can study interactions occurring on the separation surface down to the molecular level. Polymer brush (PB) coated nanochannels represent such a new material, however, sufficient nanoscale analysis methods have previously been lacking to exploit their potential. Here, for the first time, we will measure biomolecule-PB interactions directly in nanochannel environments on a single-molecule level. This unprecedented analysis is made possible using Nanofluidic Scattering Microscopy, a recently developed method capable of the label-free tracking of single molecules flowing in a nanochannel. The results of this proposal will examine the kinetics regarding the synthesis of PBs within nanoconfined spaces, lead to the discovery of unique PB compositions for separation, and finally, help to elucidate the connection between molecular level binding events and macroscopic separation phenomena.