Graphite: a mimic for DNA and other biomolecules in scanning tunneling microscope studies

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Science  08 Feb 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4994, pp. 640-642
DOI: 10.1126/science.1992517


Highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) is the substrate often used in scanning tunneling microscope (STM) studies of biomolecules such as DNA. All of the images presented in this article are of freshly cleaved HOPG surfaces upon which no deposition has occurred. These images illustrate features previously thought to be due to biological molecules, such as periodicity and meandering of "molecules" over steps. These features can no longer be used to distinguish real molecules from features of the native substrate. The feasibility of the continued use of HOPG as a substrate for biological STM studies is discussed.

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