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Building Giant 'Nanoassemblies' That Sense Their Environment

Date:
June 24, 2008
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers in Texas are reporting the design, construction, and assembly of nano-size building blocks into the first giant structures that can sense and respond to changes in environmental conditions.

An optical photograph reveals self-assembly of hybrid nanowires resulting in this golden droplet. Such structures could help develop nanomachines for the medical community, scientists report.
Credit: Courtesy of Pulickel M. Ajayan

Researchers in Texas are reporting the design, construction, and assembly of nano-size building blocks into the first giant structures that can sense and respond to changes in environmental conditions.

The study, scheduled for the July 9 issue of ACS's Nano Letters, a monthly journal, terms those structures "giant" because they are about the size of a grain of rice — millions of times larger than anything in the submicroscopic realm of the nanoworld.

In the new study, Pulickel M. Ajayan and colleagues point out that such structures are a step toward the development of futuristic nanomachines with practical applications in delivering medicines to patients, labs-on-a-chip, and other products. Until now, scientists have had difficulty in using nanomaterials to build more complex, multifunctional objects needed for those applications.

The researchers describe development of a hybrid nanowire consisting of segments with water-repelling carbon nanotubes on one end and water-attracting metal nanowires on the other end. In laboratory tests, they showed that the nanowires could assemble themselves into larger, more complex structures when placed in water. The structures also sensed and responded to their environment by making movements when exposed to chemicals, magnets, and light.

The findings "could lead to the creation of smart materials that are a cornerstone for the development of nanotechnology-based applications," the study notes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ou, Fung Suong, Shaijumon, Manikoth M., and Ajayan, Pulickel M. Controlled Manipulation of Giant Hybrid Inorganic Nanowire Assemblies. Nano Lett., Web Release Date: May 29, 2008 DOI: 10.1021/nl080407i

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Building Giant 'Nanoassemblies' That Sense Their Environment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080623093549.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2008, June 24). Building Giant 'Nanoassemblies' That Sense Their Environment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080623093549.htm
American Chemical Society. "Building Giant 'Nanoassemblies' That Sense Their Environment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080623093549.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

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