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New DNA-based technique for assembly of nano- and micro-sized particles
Date:9/12/2007

a meter and polystyrene (a type of plastic) microparticles measuring millionths of a meter. These particles served as models for the possibility of using the technique with other small particles. The scientists synthesized DNA to chemically react with the particles. They controlled the assembly process by keeping the total amount of DNA constant, while varying the relative fraction of complementary and non-complementary DNA. This technique allowed for regulating assembly over a very broad range, from forming clusters consisting of millions of particles to almost keeping individual particles separate in a non-aggregating form.

It is like adjusting molecular springs, said Nykypanchuk. If there are too many springs, particles will bounce from each other, and if there are too few springs, particles will likely stick to each other.

The method was tested separately on the nano- and micro-sized particles, and was equally successful in providing greater control than using only complementary DNA in assembling both types of particles into large or small groupings.

To determine the structure of the assembled particles and to learn how to modify them for particular uses, the researchers used transmission electron microscopy to visualize the clusters, as well as x-ray scattering at the National Synchrotron Light Source to study particles in solution, the DNAs natural environment.


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Contact: Diane Greenberg
greenb@bnl.gov
631-344-2347
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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