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Nonstick and laser-safe gold aids laser trapping of biomolecules
Date:6/17/2009

00 feet up and hoping it will land tires down. If the molecule lands in the wrong orientation, it wont be active or, worse, it will only partially work, Perkins says.

Ideally, scientists want to attach biomolecules in an optimal pattern on an otherwise nonstick surface. Gold posts are easy to lay down in desired patterns at the nanometer scale. Perkins group attached the DNA to the gold with sulfur-based chemical units called thiols (widely used in nanotechnology), an approach that is mechanically stronger than the protein-based bonding techniques typically used in biology. The JILA scientists used six thiol bonds instead of just one between the DNA and the gold posts. These bonds were mechanically strong enough to withstand high-force laser trapping and chemically robust enough to allow the JILA team to coat the unreacted gold on each nanopost with a polymer cushion, which eliminated undesired sticking. Now you can anchor DNA to gold and keep the rest of the gold very nonstick, Perkins says.

Moreover, the gold nanoposts were small enoughwith diameters of 100 to 500 nanometers and a height of 20 nanometersthat the scientists could avoid hitting the posts directly with lasers. Like oil and water, traditionally laser tweezers and gold dont mix. By making very small islands of gold, we positioned individual molecules where we wanted them, and with a mechanical strength that enables more precise and additional types of studies, Perkins says.


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Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
303-497-4880
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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