Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Extreme nature helps scientists design nano materials

14.10.2008
Scientists are using designs in nature from extreme environments to overcome the challenges of producing materials on the nanometre scale.

A team from the UK’s John Innes Centre, the Scripps Research Institute in California and the Institut Pasteur in Paris have identified a stable, modifiable virus that could be used as a nanobuilding block.

Viral nanoparticles (VNPs) are ideally sized, can be produced in large quantities, and are very stable and robust. They can self-assemble with very high precision, but are also amenable to modification by chemical means or genetic engineering.

Some applications of VNPs require them to withstand extremely harsh conditions. Uses in electrical systems may expose them to high temperatures, and biomedical uses can involve exposure to highly acidic conditions. VNPs able to remain functional in these conditions are therefore desirable. The team identified viruses from the hot acidic sulphurous springs in Iceland. One of these, SIRV2, was assessed for its suitability for use as a viral nanobuilding block.

SIRV2 is a virus that infects Sulfolobus islandicus, a single-celled microorganism that grows optimally at 80°C and at pH 3, and it was also able to withstand other harsh environments created in the laboratory. This shows that the rigid, rod-shaped SIRV2 virus capsule must be very stable, an important characteristic for use as a nanobuilding block. To be potentially useful as a VNP, the viral capsule also needs to be open to modification or decoration with functional chemical groups.

The researchers found that, depending on the chemistry used, modifications could be targeted specifically to the ends of the virus particle, to its body, or both. This spatially controlled modification is unique to this VNP, and opens up new possibilities when the nanobuilding blocks are built up into arrays or layers. Since the virus body and ends can be selectively labelled it is expected that arrays with different physical properties can be fabricated, for example by aligning particles body-to-body versus self-assembly end-to-end. This option is not possible with other rod-shaped VNPs.

“Future applications may be found in liquid crystal assembly, nanoscale templating, nanoelectronic and biomedical applications.” said Dr Dave Evans of the John Innes Centre.

“Further studies towards the development of these VNPs for materials are currently underway”, said Dr Nicole F. Steinmetz of the Scripps Research Institute. “We are looking into the use of the particles to generate complex structures such as rings or tetrapods”.

Zoe Dunford | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>