Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Physicist says nanoparticle assembly is like building with LEGOs

14.10.2011
New processes that allow nanoparticles to assemble themselves into designer materials could solve some of today's technology challenges, Alex Travesset of Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory reports in the Oct. 14 issue of the journal Science.

Travesset, an associate professor of physics and astronomy and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, writes in the journal's Perspectives section that the controlled self-assembly of nanoparticles could help researchers create new materials with unique electrical, optical, mechanical or transport properties.


This image shows a crystal of nanoparticles (the red and blue spheres) held together by DNA strands (the orange lines) via the hybridization of complementary sequences (the blue and red rings). Credit: Image courtesy of Chris Knorowski/Iowa State University/Ames Laboratory

"Nanoparticle self-assembly has entered the LEGO era," Travesset said. "You can really work with nanoparticles in the same way you can work with LEGOs. This represents a breakthrough in the way we can manipulate matter. Really revolutionary applications will come."

In his commentary, Travesset reports on the ramifications of a scientific paper also published in the Oct. 14 issue of Science. Lead authors of the scientific paper are Chad Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and George Schatz, a professor of chemistry at Northwestern. Their research team describes new technologies that use complementary DNA strands to link nanoparticles and control how the particles precisely assemble into target structures.

Nanoparticles are so small - just billionths of a meter - that it is practically impossible to assemble real materials particle by particle. Past attempts to induce their self-assembly have been successful in only a handful of systems and in very restrictive conditions.

The developments by the Mirkin and Schatz research team are "likely to elevate DNA-programmed self-assembly into a technique for the design of nanoparticle structures a la carte," Travesset wrote.

Travesset's research program includes theoretical studies of the assembly of nanoparticles and how they can be uniformly mixed with polymers. A research paper describing some of his findings was published in the May 27 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters (Dynamics and Statics of DNA-Programmable Nanoparticle Self-Assembly and Crystallization).

With the development of efficient self-assembly technologies, Travesset said there's tremendous potential for nanoparticle science.

"Being able to assemble nanoparticles with such control represents a major accomplishment in our quest to manipulate matter," he wrote in Science. "There are immediate important applications related to catalysis, medical sensing, new optical materials or metamaterials, and others that will follow from these studies.

"Most likely, however, many other applications will arise as we dig deeper, understand better, expand further, and tinker with the opportunities provided by these materials."

Alex Travesset | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ameslab.gov

Further reports about: DNA strand Lego Travesset nanoparticle specimen processing

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells
11.12.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires
07.12.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>