Gold Goes Viral
Source: PhysOrg (1/27/11)
"Research marks a significant step in combining assorted materials to create nanodevices."
The scientists created specific pieces of DNA, and then attached them to gold nanoparticles and viral particles, choosing the sequences and positioning them exactly to force the particles to arrange themselves into a crystal lattice.
When scientists mixed the particles, out of the brew emerged a sodium thallium crystal lattice. The device "self assembled" or literally built itself.
"Organic materials interact in ways very different from metal nanoparticles. . .that we can make such different materials work together and be compatible in a single structure demonstrates new opportunities for building nano-sized devices," said Dr. Sung Yong Park, a research assistant professor at Rochester.
Three years ago, Park and a larger team of colleagues at Northwestern University first produced a crystal lattice with a similar method, using DNA to link gold nanospheres. The new work is the first to combine particles with such different properties—hard gold nanoparticles and more flexible organic particles.
The gold particles and the viral particles repel each other, but their deterrence is countered by the attraction between the strategically placed complementary strands of DNA. . .a little like countering forces keep our curtains up—a spring in a curtain rod pushes the rod to lengthen, while brackets on the window frame counter that force, creating a taut, rigid device.