Protein Solutions' DynaPro molecular sizing instruments
The scattering of sunlight by a combination of air molecules, dust particles, and water droplets creates some beautiful phenomena readily recognizable as white clouds, blue skies, and red sunsets. That scattered sunlight carries information that is detected by the eye and interpreted by the brain. In a similar fashion, laser light scattered by molecules in solution also carries valuable information. When properly detected and analyzed, for instance, this scattered light reveals much about a molecule's hydrodynamic radius, particle size and dimensions, polydispersity and molecular size distribution, molecular weight, concentration, and conformational changes. By using a technique called dynamic light scattering (DLS), these kinds of data are obtainable from several types of molecules and particles, including proteins, viruses, micelles, DNA, antibodies, lipids, and many more.

The basic principles behind dynamic light scattering are straightforward. To begin with, a laser beam is directed into a sample...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?