Analyzing Molecular Structures at the Single Molecule Level by Direct Imaging
Structure dictates properties” is a key concept in chemistry – emphasizing the importance of molecular structures in understanding chemical phenomena. Yet capturing diverse molecular structures in biology and chemical catalysis remains challenging today due to ensemble-averaging in current analytical methods. Ensemble-averaged measurements on structurally diverse molecules result in the loss of structural details at the single-molecule level. Here we bypass this problem by imaging molecules one-at-a-time using scanning probe microscopy. Our approach unveils, for the first time, structures of biomolecules decorated with glycans (a.k.a carbohydrates) at the nanoscale, offering a new means to probe molecular structures at single-molecule level.