Northwestern University research team first use of DNA and nanoparticles to produce a near-perfect single crystals. Related research recently published in “Nature” magazine.
Recently, the research team at Northwestern University’s first use of DNA and nanoparticles to produce a near-perfect single crystals. Related research recently published in “Nature” magazine.
“The perfect single crystal is widely used in daily life – is not only expensive diamond jewelry, but also has wide industrial uses; sapphire laser generator can be used to manufacture, and the silicon is an important raw material for electronic devices.” Nano school scientist, team leader Chad A. Mirkin said, “atomic positions in the crystal lattice are accurately determine the quality of a piece of crystal.” continuous and single crystal lattice defects and no, it has unique mechanical, optical and electromagnetic properties. “Now, we can use DNA and nanoparticles to produce crystals.” Chad A. Mirkin said.
According to reports, based on the laboratory developed over the last two decades crystalline lattice technology, the research team found a unique way – using specific nanomaterials as atom-specific DNA as a binder by heating it after to obtain the desired crystals.
“Imagine if a container has one million red ball and basketball, no matter how you shake the container, these balls are not completely uniform mixing.” Chad A. Mirkin said, “but if you’re in a full Adding nanoparticles container suitable DNA, and then shaking the container, in our experiments, that is stirring the solution, you will find that all living DNA nanoparticles are sticking, “he said:.” They form a perfect three-dimensional crystals. ”
In the study, the use of specific DNA strand acts as a binder, Chad A. Mirkin led the team to a combination of scattered gold nanoparticles into ordered crystalline structure.
The researchers said that in the above process, the ratio of the length and size of nanoparticles between DNA strands is very important.
“Merits of the crystal quality directly determines the percentage obtained.” One of the team members, a chemistry professor at the school Weinberg College of Olvera de la Cruz said, “This is the magic of this technology, you must have the correct proportion. ”
She explained that the ratio of the length of the DNA strand and nano-particle size affects the energy of the crystal surface, and ultimately determine the final shape of the crystal. In addition to the ratio of the “secret” of the surface energy of the crystal causes fluctuations, thus difficult to form a regular shape. Olvera de la Cruz explained that the appropriate ratio will be much smaller fluctuations of energy, thus contributing to the formation of crystals. “We already know some of the right proportions.”
The researchers said that the length of DNA can not be too large in diameter than nano particles. In the study, the diameter of each of the nanoparticles is between 5 and 20 nm. And a length of 18 bp DNA zero six single nucleotide.
Although the team is the main object of study is the gold nanoparticles, however, Chad A. Mirkin said the technology could also be applied to other materials. “After technical improvements, we will be able to create more perfect single crystals. And in the future, our approach will be used to manufacture silicon, thus greatly promote the development of silicon electronics industry.”