Chemistry yields DNA fossils

July 28/August 4, 2004

One way to make things at the molecular scale is to use DNA, which can be coaxed to self-assemble into various structures. The trick is getting other useful materials like inorganics into the mix.

Researchers from Kyushu University in Japan have used bacterial DNA as a matrix for making structures from silicates, which are materials like glass and concrete that contain silicon.

The technique could be used to make nanoscale containers, wires, patterns, and chemical catalysts.

DNA and silicate materials are both negatively charged, meaning the two ordinarily repel each other rather than stick together. At the same time, DNA is only soluble in water, but silicates are soluble in organic solvent.

The researchers made the two compatible by adding a hydrocarbon chain to the DNA that had positively charged groups of molecules at its head and tail. The stronger positive charge at the head caused the hydrocarbon chains to attach to pairs oxygen atoms on the DNA backbone, leaving the weaker tail charge free to connect silicate particles, which then fused together. At the same time, the combination DNA-hydrocarbon chains was soluble in the organic solvent required for silicate.

Once the silicate is in place, the DNA is removed by heating. What is left can be thought of as an artificial fossil in the shape of the DNA.

The work appeared in the June 16, 2004 issue of Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Page One

Photonic chips go 3D

Online popularity tracked

Summarizer gets the idea

Electric fields assemble devices

Process prints silicon on plastic
Tool automates photomontage edits
Device promises microwave surgery
Hologram makes fast laser tweezer
Chemistry yields DNA fossils
Particle chains make quantum wires

Research Watch blog

View from the High Ground Q&A
How It Works

RSS Feeds:
News  | Blog

Ad links:
Buy an ad link


Ad links: Clear History

Buy an ad link

Home     Archive     Resources    Feeds     Glossary
TRN Finder     Research Dir.    Events Dir.      Researchers     Bookshelf
   Contribute      Under Development     T-shirts etc.     Classifieds

© Copyright Technology Research News, LLC 2000-2010. All rights reserved.