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Capping a two-faced particle gives duke engineers complete control
Date:8/11/2009

authors of a paper appearing online in the journal Advanced Materials. "We have created a novel Janus particle that can be manipulated or constrained with six degrees of freedom."

The researchers have dubbed the unique particles they created "dot-Janus" particles.

Using optical traps on dot-Janus particles, researchers controlled three degrees of movement up and down, left and right, forward and backward, while constraining one degree of rotation - side-to-side tilting. Using magnetic fields, they controlled the remaining two degrees of rotation - forward and backward tilting, and left and right turning.

"The solution was to create a particle with a small cap of cobalt that covers about a quarter of the particle," Erb said. He and Jenness conducted their research in the laboratory of Benjamin Yellen, Duke assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. "This gave the particle just enough of a magnetic handle to allow it to be manipulated by magnetism without interfering with the optical tweezers."

The researchers said that the fabrication of these unique dot-Janus particles combined with the ability to control their orientation will have important ramifications in the burgeoning field of nanoengineering.

"Being able to more completely control these particles affords us a greater ability to measure the mechanical properties of biomolecules, including DNA," Yellen said. "It may also be possible to control the behavior of cells by manipulating dot-Janus particles attached to cell surfaces. These biological applications, as well as the ability to control the assembly of nanostructures, establish the broad scientific value of these findings."


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Contact: Richard Merritt
richard.merritt@duke.edu
919-660-8414
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert  

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