Self-Assembled Monolayers (SAM)

The self-assembled monolayers (SAM) lies at the heart of the precise ligand densities we are able to achieve with our Surface Chemistry Biochips.

A SAM is a dense carpet of hydrocarbon chains with functional groups on the end of each chain that impart the whole surface with select properties, such as reactivity to chemicals, hydrophobicity, optics, and many more.

We utilize SAM surface chemistry to precisely control the mean distance between functional groups and thereby control the distance between active ligands for cellular attachment. Our proprietary process of surface functionalization is carried out by covalently linking SAM molecules to a thin film of gold that is optically translucent, allowing researchers to image cells on a well-defined surface which bolsters reproducibility and unmasks hidden phenotypes with lot-validated surface activity.

A representation of a SAM at a molecular scale.

Functional groups can be seen in the cartoon representation of a SAM above (Blue = functional groups. Red = passivated spacer molecules). Altering the ratio of “active” functional groups to passivated spacer molecules allows for control over mean spacing between functional groups and attached ligands by stochastic distribution.

Reducing the mean nearest-neighbor distance between functional groups results in increased surface activity that can be reliably quantified by surface plasmon resonance. The physical mean nearest-neighbor distance has been calculated using a homogeneous Poisson process(1).

Cartoon of a c(RGDfK)-functionalized SAM with modeled average nearest-neighbor distance.

Nanocrine surface chemistry biochips are provided as RtF-SAMTM Biochips, ready to be functionalized with your protein of interest at precise and quantified spacings, c(RGDfK)-functionalized biochips (ready for in vitro use), or custom peptide/protein-functionalized biochips upon request (ready for in vitro use). 

At Nanocrine, our mission is to increase the reproducibility of live-cell experiments by standardizing the substrates on which researchers are performing live-cell microscopy. The Nanocrine Surface Chemistry Biochip is designed around this mission. Know your cells better.

(1) Robitaille, M. C., et al. (2021). “Interfacing Live Cells with Surfaces: A Concurrent Control Technique for Quantifying Surface Ligand Activity.” ACS Applied Bio Materials 4(11): 7856-7864.

A representation of c(RGDfK) peptides bonding to the active sites of the SAM.