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U of T researchers build an antenna for light
Date:7/10/2011

TORONTO, ON University of Toronto researchers have derived inspiration from the photosynthetic apparatus in plants to engineer a new generation of nanomaterials that control and direct the energy absorbed from light.

Their findings are reported in a forthcoming issue of Nature Nanotechnology, which will be released on July 10, 2011.

The U of T researchers, led by Professors Shana Kelley and Ted Sargent, report the construction of what they term "artificial molecules."

"Nanotechnologists have for many years been captivated by quantum dots particles of semiconductor that can absorb and emit light efficiently, and at custom-chosen wavelengths," explained co-author Kelley, a Professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, the Department of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Arts & Science. "What the community has lacked until now is a strategy to build higher-order structures, or complexes, out of multiple different types of quantum dots. This discovery fills that gap."

The team combined its expertise in DNA and in semiconductors to invent a generalized strategy to bind certain classes of nanoparticles to one another.

"The credit for this remarkable result actually goes to DNA: its high degree of specificity its willingness to bind only to a complementary sequence enabled us to build rationally-engineered, designer structures out of nanomaterials," said Sargent, a Professor in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto, who is also the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology. "The amazing thing is that our antennas built themselves we coated different classes of nanoparticles with selected sequences of DNA, combined the different families in one beaker, and nature took its course. The result is a beautiful new set of self-assembled materials with exciting properties."

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Contact: Jef Ekins
j.ekins@utoronto.ca
416-946-7036
University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
Source:Eurekalert

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