Chorolphyll is a pivotal molecule in the photosynthesis process. Using a scanning tunneling microscope, nanoscientists from the Ohio University were able to manipulate the configuration of the spinach chlorophyll-a molecule in four different positions (see photo left), with may be potentially used as a biological switch.
The work has immediate implications for basic science research, as the configuration of molecules and proteins impacts biological functions. The study also suggests a novel route for creating nanoscale logic circuits or mechanical switches for future medical, computer technology or green energy applications, said Hla, an associate professor of physics.
Their study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A video showing the different conformations may also be viewed here.