Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Method To Precisely Glue Particles Together On The Micro- And Nano-scale Created

Date:
June 16, 2009
Source:
New York University
Summary:
Researchers have created a method to precisely bind nano- and micrometer-sized particles together into larger-scale structures with useful materials properties. Their work overcomes the problem of uncontrollable sticking, which had been a barrier to the successful creation of stable microscopic and macroscopic structures with a sophisticated architecture.

Researchers at New York University have created a method to precisely bind nano- and micrometer-sized particles together into larger-scale structures with useful materials properties. Their work, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Nature Materials, overcomes the problem of uncontrollable sticking, which had been a barrier to the successful creation of stable microscopic and macroscopic structures with a sophisticated architecture.

The long-term goal of the NYU researchers is to create non-biological materials that have the ability to self-replicate. In the process of self-replication, the number of objects doubles every cycle. This exponential growth stands in sharp contrast to conventional materials production, where doubling the amount of product requires twice the production time. At present, this linear scaling poses a major stumbling block for the fabrication of useful quantities of microscopic objects with a sophisticated architecture, which are needed for the next stages of micro- and nanotechnology.

In order to obtain self-replication, the researchers coat micrometer-sized particles with short stretches of DNA, so-called "sticky ends". Each sticky end consists of a particular sequence of DNA building blocks and sticky ends with complementary sequences form very specific bonds that are reversible. Below a certain temperature, the particles recognize each other and bind together, while they unbind again above that temperature. This enables a scheme in which the particles spontaneously organize into an exact copy on top of a template, which can then be released by elevating the temperature.

Scientists have used DNA-mediated interactions before, but it has always been very difficult to bind only a subset of particles—usually, either all particles or no particles are bound. This makes it challenging to make well-defined structures. Therefore, the NYU team, comprised of researchers in the Physics Department's Center for Soft Matter Research and in the university's Department of Chemistry, sought to find a method to better control the interactions and organization of the particles.

To do so, the researchers took advantage of the ability of certain DNA sequences to fold into a hairpin-like structure or to bind to neighboring sticky ends on the same particle. They found that if they lowered the temperature very rapidly, these sticky ends fold up on the particle—before they can bind to sticky ends on other particles. The particles stuck only when they were held together for several minutes—a sufficient period for the sticky ends to find a binding partner on another particle.

"We can finely tune and even switch off the attractions between particles, rendering them inert unless they are heated or held together—like a nano-contact glue," said Mirjam Leunissen, a post-doctoral fellow in the Center for Soft Matter Research and the study's lead author.

To maneuver the particles, the team used optical traps, or tweezers. This tool, created by David Grier, chair of NYU's Department of Physics and one of the paper's authors, uses laser beams to move objects as small as a few nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter.

The work has a range of possible applications. Notably, because the size of micrometer-scale particles—approximately one-tenth the thickness of a strand of human hair—is comparable to the wavelength of visible light, ordered arrays of these particles can be used for optical devices. These include sensors and photonic crystals that can switch light analogous to the way semi-conductors switch electrical currents. Moreover, the same organizational principles apply to smaller nanoparticles, which possess a wide range of electrical, optical, and magnetic properties that are useful for applications.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) program, the Keck Foundation, and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New York University. "Method To Precisely Glue Particles Together On The Micro- And Nano-scale Created." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090614153303.htm>.
New York University. (2009, June 16). Method To Precisely Glue Particles Together On The Micro- And Nano-scale Created. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090614153303.htm
New York University. "Method To Precisely Glue Particles Together On The Micro- And Nano-scale Created." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090614153303.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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