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 New material captures carbon dioxide
15.10.2019 | Kyoto University

nachricht Bayreuth researchers discover stable high-energy material
15.10.2019 | Universität Bayreuth

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

Im Focus: How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

How do some neutron stars become the strongest magnets in the Universe? A German-British team of astrophysicists has found a possible answer to the question of how these so-called magnetars form. Researchers from Heidelberg, Garching, and Oxford used large computer simulations to demonstrate how the merger of two stars creates strong magnetic fields. If such stars explode in supernovae, magnetars could result.

How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New material captures carbon dioxide

15.10.2019 | Materials Sciences

Drugs for better long-term treatment of poorly controlled asthma discovered

15.10.2019 | Interdisciplinary Research

Family of crop viruses revealed at high resolution for the first time

15.10.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>