Speed is of the essence: BioLogic/IRsweep collaboration
Posted on: October 20, 2020
An informal collaboration between BioLogic and the Swiss instrumentation company IRsweep brings the fastest stopped-flow and dual-comb spectrometer on the market together, through a technical collaboration that could open up exciting new opportunities for researchers in the field of biology and chemistry.
On September 30th, 2020, Cedric Georges, Product Manager for BioLogic’s Rapid Kinetics and Spectroscopy’ division, visited IRsweep in Stäfa, Switzerland, to carry out a connectivity assessment for BioLogic’s SFM stopped-flow range and the IRsweep IRis-F1 spectrometer.
BioLogic’s stopped-flow is a rapid mixing device used by researchers to study rapid kinetics in solution. Cedric Georges initiated contact with IRSweep with the objective of assessing compatibility between BioLogic’s SFM range with the IRsweep IRis-F1 spectrometer. The value of such an assessment was clear, as the combination of these two instruments (both the fastest of their type on the market) could potentially open up significant opportunities for researchers.
New opportunities in protein folding by combining two best-in-class instruments
Protein chemists have always wanted to follow kinetics in the mid-infra-red region (mid-IR) in order to better understand how proteins fold, and to obtain information about secondary structure changes involved in the folding process. Traditionally, the stopped-flow is coupled to a Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR) spectrometer. Despite the improvement in FT-IR technology and the use of step scan acquisition, the main limitation of such set-ups for rapid kinetics is often the time resolution of the FT-IR spectrometer. The fastest acquisition speed is often in the 30-50 ms range (or even longer) so it does not ideally match the few milliseconds dead time (with FTIR cell) of the Biologic SFM stopped-flow.
IRsweep’s spectrometer uses a different (dual-comb) approach to attain significantly faster speeds than those attainable with FTIR – up to 4µs per spectra. Cedric Georges and the Swiss team, therefore, set about testing the compatibility of the instruments using off-the-shelf accessories.
The results were highly positive. The two devices were easily coupled and the new team carried out tests that resulted in sub-10 ms biochemical reaction kinetics in the mid-IR region where traditional FT-IR experiments are limited.
The team has developed an application note (AN38) which gives full details of the tests carried out and which illustrates the coupling procedure for the two instruments.
New opportunities in fundamental research for protein chemists
The collaboration marks a first for biochemists specializing in the field of protein folding, as experiments at such speeds have only been possible using “home-made” systems, which lacked the reliability and modularity of the BioLogic/IRsweep combination. Furthermore, the IRis-F1 spectrometer offers significant advantages in terms of sensitivity over FT-IR instruments, not just in terms of acquisition speed, making the SFM/IRis-F1 package, a promising package for biochemists and researchers working in protein refolding; helping them to better understand protein folding and structural changes made to proteins.
Stopped-flow FT-IR stopped-flow dual comb spectroscopy IRsweep Iris-F1 SFM SFM2000-3000-4000 mid-IR rapid kinetics secondary structure infra-red kinetics