Optical tweezers in single-molecule experiments
Physics and Astronomy Department, University of Padua, via Marzolo 8, 35131, Padova, Italy
Accepted: 31 October 2020
Published online: 10 November 2020
In the last decades, optical tweezers have progressively emerged as a unique tool to investigate the biophysical world, allowing to manipulate and control forces and movements of one molecule at a time with unprecedented resolution. In this review, we present the use of optical tweezers to perform single-molecule force spectroscopy investigations from an experimental perspective. After a comparison with other single-molecule force spectroscopy techniques, we illustrate at an introductory level the physical principles underlying optical trapping and the main experimental configurations employed nowadays in single-molecule experiments. We conclude with a brief summary of some remarkable results achieved with this approach in different biological systems, with the aim to highlight the great variety of experimental possibilities offered by optical tweezers to scientists interested in this research field.
© The Author(s) 2020
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