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Classical chemistry and biochemistry experiments in solution measure the properties of many molecules and/or interrogate them simultaneously – these are called ensemble measurements and tend to mask the underlying molecular dynamics. Studies at single-molecule level provide random, stochastic dynamics, and allow access to an incredible wealth of molecular information. Most importantly, previously “unanswerable” questions in the physical, chemical, and biological sciences can now be answered. The field of single-molecule science (SMS) can be roughly divided into two general areas: (1) improvements in single-molecule methodologies (technology development); and (2) use of these methodologies to address important scientific questions in fundamental biological research (applied research). Over the past decades, single-molecule research has fostered excellent collaboration and interdisciplinary research with input from biology, chemistry, and physics.
Single Molecule Science (SMS) has emerged from developing, using and combining technologies such as super-resolution microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and optical and magnetic tweezers, alongside sophisticated computational and modelling techniques. This comprehensive, edited volume brings together authoritative overviews of these methods from a biological perspective, and highlights how they can be used to observe and track individual molecules and monitor molecular interactions in living cells. Pioneers in this fast-moving field cover topics such as single molecule optical maps, nanomachines, and protein folding and dynamics. A particular emphasis is also given to mapping DNA molecules for diagnostic purposes, and the study of gene expression. With numerous illustrations, this book reveals how SMS has presented us with a new way of understanding life processes. A must-have for researchers and graduate students, as well as those working in industry, primarily in the areas of biophysics, biological imaging, genomics and structural biology.