New Methodology for Accurate Determination of Molecular Co-localization at the Nanoscale

D. S. Verkhoturov, M. J. Eller, Y. D. Han, B. Crulhas, S. V. Verkhoturov, A. Revzin, E. A. Schweikert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new methodology using nanoparticle projectile secondary ion mass spectrometry was developed to identify statistically significant co-localization of tagged proteins versus random aggregations at the nanoscale. The custom instrument was run in the unique event-by-event bombardment detection mode with 1040 keV Au28008+individual projectiles each probing an area with a diameter of ∼20 nm. In a model experiment, antibodies tagged with fluorine, iodine, and bromine were attached on a silicon wafer in a 1:1:1 ratio. To determine whether the three different antibodies were homogeneously distributed at the nanoscale or if there were fluctuations due to the slightly different physical properties of the tags, a "co-localization factor" was introduced. It is shown for the first time that the differences in the hydrophobicity of the tags induced fluctuations, causing differential attachment of the tags at the nanoscale. When tags with the same physical and chemical properties were used, the analysis of co-localization factors shows that the attachment became random.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5626-5632
Number of pages7
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 10 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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