Photochemical micromachining of protein crystals
We have found out, that protein crystals can either be co-crystallized with fluorescent surfactants, or infused with them at a later stage. Thus, a protein-fluorescent surfactant lattice is created. One possible application that we have explored, is to use the immobilized fluorophores as photochemical energy converters, that can splice up or denature the host protein molecules. This has been used as photochemical micromachining tool for cutting, etching and drilling of protein crystals. An example is shown in the microphotograph below.
A 30 mm hole photochemically drilled through a lysozyme crystal after exposure to a collimated beam on the fluorescence microscope. Note, that due to the high fragility of the protein crystals, such micromachining is impossible via mechanical or laser drilling.
O. D. Velev, E. W. Kaler and A. M. Lenhoff, Adv. Mater., in preparation (1998).
© Copyright O. D. Velev 1998