Scientists Combine Synthetic and Biological Nanoparticles to Produce New Metamaterials

Aalto University scientists have organized synthetic and biological building blocks in a single structure – combining virus particles (and other protein cages) with inorganic nanoparticles to form crystalline layer structures, or superlattices.

nanoparticles

(Photo : Aalto University) Two different protein cages — cowpea chlorotic mottle virus (blue) and Pyrococcus furiosus ferritin (red) — can be used to guide the assembly of binary nanoparticle superlattices via tunable electrostatic interactions with charged gold nanoparticles (yellow)

January 09, 2013
By Mark Hoffman
Article from Science World Report

The research aims to develop hierarchically structured nanomaterials with tunable optical, magnetic, electronic and catalytic properties. Such nanomaterials are important for applications in sensing, optics, electronics and drug delivery.

By generating biohybrid 3D superlattices of nanoparticles and proteins, “the versatility of synthetic nanoparticles and the highly controlled assembly properties of biomolecules can be combined,” explains Dr Mauri Kostiainen of Aalto University Department of Applied Physics, who led the research.

“Binary nanoparticle lattices have received so much attention because they can provide a way to prepare multifunctional metamaterials – periodic artificial materials not found in nature. In them, new properties arise from collective behaviour,” explains Kostiainen.

For example, they showed that virus or ferritin protein cages can be used to guide the assembly of RNA molecules or iron oxide nanoparticles into superlattices, formed through tunable electrostatic interactions with charged gold nanoparticles.

“The gold nanoparticles and viruses adopt a special kind of crystal structure that doesn’t correspond to any known atomic or molecular crystal structure and it has previously not been observed with nano-sized particles,” said Kostiainen.

In bringing these kind of new materials to fruition, scientists turn the usually unwanted properties of viruses into something very useful, by employing the unique capability of highly controlled self-assembly of the virus particles.

The Academy of Finland funded the study.


Related Video

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Science/Nature and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s