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 When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short
23.03.2017 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

nachricht WPI team grows heart tissue on spinach leaves
23.03.2017 | Worcester Polytechnic Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>