It is a big dream in science: To start from scratch with simple artificial microskopic building blocks and end up with something much more complex: living systemts, novel computers or every-day materials. For decades scientists have pursied the dream of creating artificial building blocks that can self-assemble in large numbers and reassemble to take on new tasks or to remedy defects. Now researchers from University of Southern Denmark have taken a step forward to make this dream come true.
"The potential of such new man-made systems is almost limitless, and many expect these novel materials to become the foundation of future technologies", says Dr. Maik Hadorn from Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zrich, who conducted the research as a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Southern Denmark (SDU).
Over the last three years he and the colleagues Eva Boenzli, Kristian T. Srensen and Martin M. Hanczyc from the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT) at SDU have worked on the challenges of making primitive building blocks assemble and turn into something functional.
"We used short DNA strands as smart glue to link preliminary stages of artificial cells (called artificial vesicles) to engineer novel tissue-like structures", says Dr. Maik Hadorn.
As part of the EU-sponsored project MATCHIT (MATrix for CHemical Information Technology) Dr. Maik Hadorn and coworkers have earlier showed that short DNA strands can guide the self-assembly process of artificial vesicles; that two types of artificial vesicles can be linked in a way predefined by the person conducting the experiment, and that assembled structures can be reassembled, when triggered externally.
In their most recent scientific article, published in Langmuir in December 2013, the researchers from SDU, in collaboration with colleagues from Italy and Japan, not only increased the complexity of the self-assembled str
|Contact: Birgitte Svennevig|
University of Southern Denmark