Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Micro-Patchwork Family

3D construction: microparticles made of three chemically independent patches

Micromachines, nanorobots, multifunctional drug transporters, and matrices for tissue growth – these and many other applications would benefit from three-dimensional microstructures that present different (bio)chemical ligands that offer control over directionality.

In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a team of German and American researchers has now reported the production of microparticles whose surface consists of three separate areas (“patches”) that can be decorated with three different (bio)molecules.

“While the spatially controlled presentation of chemical and biological ligands is well established for two-dimensional substrates, very few methodologies exist for the spatially controlled decoration of three-dimensional objects, such as microparticles,” explains Jörg Lahann (University of Michigan, USA and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). “Such structures would be very useful for many different applications, such as the controlled interaction of particles with biological cells for tissue growth.”

Organs are three-dimensional structures made of different types of cells. The growth of organs requires supports that stimulate the three-dimensionally controlled colonization of these cell types. Future technical applications, such as micromachines, will require 3D particles that can control the self-assembly of three-dimensional structures. If an area can also be made to respond to a stimulus by swelling or shrinking, for example, it would be possible to produce movable miniature components for use in sensors, robotic arms, or switchable drug transporters.

Lahann and his co-workers have now developed a method that allows them to obtain three chemically different patches on the same microparticle. The technique they used is electrohydrodynamic co-jetting, a process in which the researchers pump three different polymer solutions through parallel capillaries. An electric field accelerates the ejected liquid, which stretches it out. The solvent simultaneously evaporates, leaving behind a microfiber consisting of three chemically different compartments. By cutting the fibers, the team produces fine microparticles that are also made of three chemically different segments.

For their starting materials, the researchers chose three biodegradable polymers based on lactic acid. The three polymers were each equipped with a different chemical anchor group (known as “click functionality”).

It was thus possible to attach different ligands, such as different biomolecules, to the anchor groups in an orthogonal fashion, meaning that the surface reactions to attach the ligands do not influence each other. By using biomolecules containing fluorescent markers, the scientists were able to demonstrate by using a microscope that three different patches were indeed present on the same microparticle. “For practical applications the particles need to be just a bit smaller – that is our next goal,” says Lahann.

About the Author
Dr. Lahann is Professor of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He also serves as the Director of the Biointerfaces Institute at the University of Michigan and the Co-Director of the Institute for Functional Interfaces at the Karlrsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. He has been selected byTechnology Review as one of the top 100 young innovators and is the recipient of the 2007 Nanoscale Science and Engineering Award as well as a NSF-CAREER award. Since 2011, he has been a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.
Author: Joerg Lahann, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA),
Title: Chemically Orthogonal Three-Patch Microparticles
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article:

Dr. Lahann | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Sweetening neurotransmitter receptors and other neuronal proteins
28.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung

nachricht A new look at thyroid diseases
28.10.2016 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>