Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Overcome Nanotechnology Hurdle

Date:
August 18, 2008
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
When you make a new material on a nano scale how can you see what you have made? This research shows a newly developed technique to examine tiny protein molecules on the surface of a gold nanoparticle. This is the first time scientists have been able to build a detailed picture of self-assembled proteins on a nanoparticle and it offers the promise of new ways to design and manufacture novel materials on the tiniest scale.

An image from a molecular dynamics simulation showing negatively (red) and positively (blue) charged areas of the nanoparticle. Part of the peptide is shown in the lower half of the frame and the reactive molecule attached in the middle
Credit: Duschesne et al: Supramolecular Domains in Mixed Peptide Self-Assembled Monolayers on Gold Nanoparticles. ChemBioChem. DOI: 10.1002/cbic.200800326. Copyright Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.

When you make a new material on a nanoscale how can you see what you have made? A team lead by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences research Council (BBSRC) fellow has made a significant step toward overcoming this major challenge faced by nanotechnology scientists.

With new research published August 13 in ChemBioChem, the team from the University of Liverpool, The School of Pharmacy (University of London) and the University of Leeds, show that they have developed a technique to examine tiny protein molecules called peptides on the surface of a gold nanoparticle. This is the first time scientists have been able to build a detailed picture of self-assembled peptides on a nanoparticle and it offers the promise of new ways to design and manufacture novel materials on the tiniest scale - one of the key aims of nanoscience.

Engineering new materials through assembly of complex, but tiny, components is difficult for scientists. However, nature has become adept at engineering nanoscale building blocks, e.g. proteins and RNA. These are able to form dynamic and efficient nanomachines such as the cell's protein assembly machine (the ribosome) and minute motors used for swimming by bacteria.

The BBSRC-funded team, led by Dr Raphal Lvy, has borrowed from nature, developing a way of constructing complex nanoscale building blocks through initiating self-assembly of peptides on the surface of a metal nanoparticle. Whilst this approach can provide a massive number and diversity of new materials relatively easily, the challenge is to be able to examine the structure of the material.

Using a chemistry-based approach and computer modelling, Dr Lvy has been able to measure the distance between the peptides where they sit assembled on the gold nanoparticle. The technique exploits the ability to distinguish between two types of connection or 'cross-link' - one that joins different parts of the same molecule (intramolecular), and another that joins together two separate molecules (intermolecular).

As two peptides get closer together there is a transition between the two different types of connection. Computer simulations allow the scientists to measure the distance at which this transition occurs, and therefore to apply it as a sort of molecular ruler. Information obtained through this combination of chemistry and computer molecular dynamics shows that the interactions between peptides leads to a nanoparticle that is relatively organized, but not uniform. This is the first time it has been possible to measure distances between peptides on a nanoparticle and the first time computer simulations have been used to model a single layer of self-assembled peptides.

Dr Lvy said: "As nanotechnology scientists we face a challenge similar to the one faced by structural biologists half a century ago: determining the structure with atomic scale precision of a whole range of nanoscale materials. By using a combination of chemistry and computer simulation we have been able to demonstrate a method by which we can start to see what is going on at the nanoscale.

"If we can understand how peptides self-assemble at the surface of a nanoparticle, we can open up a route towards the design and synthesis of nanoparticles that have complex surfaces. These particles could find applications in the biomedical sciences, for example to deliver drugs to a particular target in the body, or to design sensitive diagnostic tests. In the longer term, these particles could also find applications in new generations of electronic components."

Professor Nigel Brown, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology, said: “Bionanotechnology holds great promise for the future. We may be able to create stronger, lighter and more durable materials, or new medical applications. Basic science and techniques for working at the nanoscale are providing the understanding that will permit future such applications of bionanotechnology.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Duchesne et al. Supramolecular Domains in Mixed Peptide Self-Assembled Monolayers on Gold Nanoparticles. ChemBioChem, 2008; NA DOI: 10.1002/cbic.200800326

Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Scientists Overcome Nanotechnology Hurdle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095718.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2008, August 18). Scientists Overcome Nanotechnology Hurdle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095718.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Scientists Overcome Nanotechnology Hurdle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095718.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins