News Column

Investigators from Northwestern University Report New Data on DNA Research

January 31, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Science Letter -- Researchers detail new data in DNA Research. According to news reporting originating from Evanston, Illinois, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, "Crystallization is a fundamental and ubiquitous process much studied over the centuries. But although the crystallization of atoms is fairly well understood(1,2), it remains challenging to predict reliably the outcome of molecular crystallization processes that are complicated by various molecular interactions and solvent involvement."

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Northwestern University, "This difficulty also applies to nanoparticles: high-quality three-dimensional crystals(3-6) are mostly produced using drying and sedimentation techniques that are often impossible to rationalize and control to give a desired crystal symmetry, lattice spacing and habit (crystal shape). In principle, DNA-mediated assembly of nanoparticles offers an ideal opportunity for studying nanoparticle crystallization(7-17): a well-defined set of rules have been developed to target desired lattice symmetries and lattice constants(8,9,18), and the occurrence of features such as grain boundaries and twinning in DNA superlattices and traditional crystals comprised of molecular or atomic building blocks suggests that similar principles govern their crystallization. But the presence of charged biomolecules, interparticle spacings of tens of nanometres, and the realization so far of only polycrystalline DNA-interconnected nanoparticle superlattices, all suggest that DNA-guided crystallization may differ from traditional crystal growth. Here we show that very slow cooling, over several days, of solutions of complementary-DNA-modified nanoparticles through the melting temperature of the system gives the thermodynamic product with a specific and uniform crystal habit."

According to the news editors, the research concluded: "We find that our nanoparticle assemblies have the Wulff equilibrium crystal structure that is predicted from theoretical considerations and molecular dynamics simulations, thus establishing that DNA hybridization can direct nanoparticle assembly along a pathway that mimics atomic crystallization."

For more information on this research see: DNA-mediated nanoparticle crystallization into Wulff polyhedra. Nature, 2014;505(7481):73-77. Nature can be contacted at: Nature Publishing Group, Macmillan Building, 4 Crinan St, London N1 9XW, England. (Nature Publishing Group - www.nature.com/; Nature - www.nature.com/nature/)

The news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting E. Auyeung, Northwestern University, Dept. of Chem, Evanston, IL 60208, United States. Additional authors for this research include T. Li, A.J. Senesi, A.L. Schmucker, B.C. Pals, M.O. de la Cruz and C.A. Mirkin (see also DNA Research).

Keywords for this news article include: Evanston, Illinois, DNA Research, Nanoparticle, United States, Nanotechnology, Emerging Technologies, North and Central America

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Source: Science Letter


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