Approach could be useful in fabricating new kinds of materials with engineered properties
May 16, 2013
Contacts: Karen McNulty Walsh, (631) 344-8350 or Peter Genzer, (631) 344-3174
“Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered that DNA “linker” strands coax nano-sized rods to line up in way unlike any other spontaneous arrangement of rod-shaped objects. The arrangement—with the rods forming “rungs” on ladder-like ribbons linked by multiple DNA strands—results from the collective interactions of the flexible DNA tethers and may be unique to the nanoscale. The research, described in a paper published online in ACS Nano, a journal of the American Chemical Society, could result in the fabrication of new nanostructured materials with desired properties.
DNA-tethered nanorods link up like rungs on a ribbonlike ladder—a new mechanism for linear self-assembly that may be unique to the nanoscale.
‘This is a completely new mechanism of self-assembly that does not have direct analogs in the realm of molecular or microscale systems,’ said Brookhaven physicist Oleg Gang, lead author on the paper, who conducted the bulk of the research at the Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN).
Alexei Tkachenko, the CFN scientist who developed the theory to explain the exceptional arrangement, elaborated: ‘Remarkably, the system has all three dimensions to live in, yet it chooses to form the linear, almost one-dimensional ribbons. It can be compared to how extra dimensions that are hypothesized by high-energy physicists become hidden, so that we find ourselves in a 3-D world.’
Schematic of how gold nanorods link up when complementary strands of DNA attached to each rod (A, A’)—or DNA linker strands with ends complementary to two different types of DNA tethers on adjacent rods (B, C)—are used as “glue.”
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One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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