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DNA-linked nanoparticles form switchable 'thin films' on a liquid surface
Date:6/11/2014

of theory, we reveal that there are collective effects of the flexible DNA chains that drive the system in the particular states. And it is only possible when the particle sizes and the DNA chain sizes are comparableon the order of 20-50 nanometers," he said.

As part of the study, the scientists examined the different configurations of the nanoparticles on top of the liquid layer using x-ray scattering at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS, http://www.bnl.gov/ps/nsls/about-NSLS.asp). They also transferred the monolayer produced at each salt concentration to a solid surface so they could visualize it using electron microscopy at the CFN.

"Creating these particle monolayers at a liquid interface is very convenient and effective because the particles' two-dimensional structure is very 'fluid' and can be easily manipulatedunlike on a solid substrate, where the particles can easily get stuck to the surface," Gang said. "But in some applications, we may need to transfer the assembled layer to such a solid surface. By combining the synchrotron scattering and electron microscopy imaging we could confirm that the transfer can be done with minimal disruption to the monolayer."

The switchable nature of the monolayers might be particularly attractive for applications such as membranes used for purification and separations, or to control the transport of molecular or nano-scale objects through liquid interfaces. For example, said Gang, when particles are linked but move freely at the interface, they may allow an objecta moleculeto pass through the interface. "However, when we induce linkages between particles to form a mesh-like network, any object larger than the mesh-size of the network cannot penetrate through this very thin film. "

"In principle, we can even think about such on-demand regulated networks to adjust the mesh size dynamically. Because,
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Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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