Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gold Nanoparticles Follow “Genetic Code”

09.08.2012
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), http://www.chemistry.illinois.edu/faculty/Yi_Lu.html
Title: Discovery of the DNA "Genetic Code" for Abiological Gold Nanoparticle Morphologies

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201203716

Yi Lu | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>