Oil-and-water approach from Richmond's UO lab to spark new line of versatile peptoid nanosheets
Scientists, including University of Oregon chemist Geraldine Richmond, have tapped oil and water to create scaffolds of self-assembling, synthetic proteins called peptoid nanosheets that mimic complex biological mechanisms and processes.
The accomplishment -- detailed this week in a paper placed online ahead of print by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences -- is expected to fuel an alternative design of the two-dimensional peptoid nanosheets that can be used in a broad range of applications. Among them could be improved chemical sensors and separators, and safer, more effective drug-delivery vehicles.
Study co-author Ronald Zuckermann of the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) first developed these ultra-thin nanosheets in 2010 using an air-and-water combination.
"We often think of oil on water as something that is environmentally bad when, in fact, my group over the past 20 years has been studying the unique properties of the junction between water and oil as an interesting place for molecules to assemble in unique ways -- including for soaps and oil dispersants," said Richmond, who holds a UO presidential chair. "This study shows it is also a unique platform for making nanosheets."
Lead authors on the project were Ellen J. Robertson, a doctoral student in Richmond's lab at the time of the research, and Gloria K. Oliver, a postdoctoral researcher at LBNL. Robertson is now a postdoctoral researcher at LBNL.
Work in Richmond's lab helped to identify the mechanism behind the formation of the nanosheets at an oil-water interface.
"Supramolecular assembly at an oil-water interface is an effective way to produce 2D nanomaterials from peptoids because that interface helps pre-organize the peptoid chains to facilitate their self-interaction," said Zuckermann, a senior scientist at LBNL's Molecular Foundry in a news release. "This increased understanding of the peptoid assembly mechanism should enable us to scale-up to produce large quantities, or scale- down, using microfluidics, to screen many different nanosheets for novel functions."
Zuckermann and Richmond are the corresponding authors on the paper. Additional co-authors are Menglu Qian and Caroline Proulx, both of LBNL.
Like natural proteins, synthetic proteins fold and conform into structures that allow them to do specific functions. In his earlier work, Zuckermann's team at LBNL's Molecular Foundry discovered a technique to synthesize peptoids into sheets that were just a few nanometers thick but up to 100 micrometers in length. These were among the largest and thinnest free-floating organic crystals ever made, with an area-to-thickness equivalent of a plastic sheet covering a football field.
"Peptoid nanosheet properties can be tailored with great precision," Zuckermann says, "and since peptoids are less vulnerable to chemical or metabolic breakdown than proteins, they are a highly promising platform for self-assembling bio-inspired nanomaterials."
To create the new version of the nanosheets, the research team used vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy to probe the molecular interactions between the peptoids as they assemble at the oil-water interface. The work showed that peptoid polymers adsorbed to the interface are highly ordered in a way that is influenced by interactions between neighboring molecules.
The substitution of oil in place of air creates a raft of new opportunities for the engineering and production of peptoid nanosheets, the researchers said. The oil phase, for example, could contain chemical reagents, serve to minimize evaporation of the aqueous phase or enable microfluidic production.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences (grant DE-FG02-96ER45557) supported the research done in Richmond's UO lab. Work at the Molecular Foundry at LBNL was supported by the DOE (under contract DE-AC02-05CH11231) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (grant IACRO-B1144571).
Media Contact: Jim Barlow, director of science and research communications, 541-346-3481, email@example.com
Sources: Geraldine Richmond is traveling but can be reached through the media contact above; Ronald Zuckermann, Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 510-486-7091, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Barlow | Eurek Alert!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences