Sum-Frequency Study of Biomolecular Structure at Interfaces


Neil A. Anderson, John C. Stephenson , Kimberly A. Briggman (Mentor)

Laboratory: Physics

Division: Optical Technologies

Building: 216, Room B121

MS 8443

Telephone: 301-975-8599

FAX: 301-869-5700


Sigma Xi: No

Category: Physics


Vbrationally-resonant sum frequency generation (VR-SFG) is an interface-specific nonlinear optical spectroscopy permitting in situ measurement. We are developing this technique as a tool to probe biologically relevant, surface- and membrane-bound molecules. As a vibrational spectroscopy, it provides chemical selectivity in the ability to probe specific native functional groups without the need for molecular tagging, as well as the interface specificity.


VR-SFG can be used to monitor the formation of supported bilayer membranes and characterize their gel-fluid phase transitions. The kinetics of insertion of simple helical transmembrane polypeptides into the bilayers allow investigation of the influence of membrane fluidity on the incorporation of the polypeptides into the bilayer and their influence on the structure of the incorporated molecules.