Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gold Nanoparticles Follow “Genetic Code”

Different sequences of DNA influence morphology of growing gold nanocrystals

Gold is not just the material of choice for pretty jewelry; it is also used in technology, for example in nanoscopic particles for applications such as catalysis, biomedicine, and sensors. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a team of American and Chinese researchers has now demonstrated that the morphology of gold nanoparticles can be controlled when they are synthesized in the presence of DNA. Depending on the DNA sequence used, the shape and surface roughness can be varied.

Because of its defined structure, DNA is often used as a “template” or “scaffold” for the production of nano-objects and nanomaterials. A team led by Yi Lu from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) and Jinghong Li from the Tsinghua University Beijing (China) have now used gold nanoparticles to demonstrate that DNA can influence the morphology of nanomaterials as well as their structure and functionality.

In order to produce gold nanoparticles, the researchers use a solution of a gold salt to which they add a mild reducing agent and tiny prismatic gold seed crystals. The reducing agent reduces the gold ions of the salt to elemental gold, which is deposited onto the seed crystals. In the presence of short DNA strands, these crystallize further to form larger, defined nanoparticles. In the absence of DNA they form significantly larger, irregularly shaped agglomerates instead.

Interestingly, the length of the DNA strands is irrelevant whereas the identity of the bases (adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine) in them is not. If the researchers add DNA that only contains guanine, the resulting nanoparticles are flat hexagons; DNA made of pure thymine produces tiny six-pointed stars with a smooth surface; pure adenine leads to the formation of rounded, rough particles; and cytosine generates round, flat platelets. In each case the particles are of uniform size and shape.

The scientists also tested DNA strands made from two different bases. In most cases the base that is present in larger amounts dominates. However, the combination of thymine and cytosine is interesting. These two bases apparently work synergistically because together they produce a new form: flower-like nanoparticles that are thinner in the middle and thicker at the edges. Increasing the proportion of thymine makes the edges thicker.

“Our work could provide a new method for synthesizing nanoparticles with predictable structures with fine-tuned morphologies for widespread applications,” says Lu. “Nanoparticles with complex shapes and rough surfaces have recently been shown to have enhanced performance as catalytic components and support materials for analytical processes like Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. They are also better absorbed by cells.”

About the Author
Dr. Yi Lu is Jay and Ann Schenck Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His group is interested in design and directed evolution of novel biocatalysts, biomaterials, and biosensors, including their applications in renewable energy generation, environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, and targeted drug delivery.
Author: Yi Lu, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (USA),
Title: Discovery of the DNA "Genetic Code" for Abiological Gold Nanoparticle Morphologies

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article:

Yi Lu | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

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

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>