The primary goal of single-molecule spectroscopic studies is to detect and quantify the underlying populations that sum together to form the ensemble measurement. Interpreting the macroscopic observable in terms of microscopic measurements opens new opportunities for chemical tuning. Using single-molecule spectroscopy, we can track the interactions between protein and surface on a particle-by-particle basis, identify rare protein conformations that happen in every one out of a thousand molecules, and examine the statistical correlation between unique surface moeities and chemical behavior.
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