Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Scientists create new nanotech building blocks

Abstract:
In the fast-growing world of nanotechnology, researchers are constantly on the lookout for new building blocks to push innovation and discovery to scales much smaller than the tiniest speck of dust.

Scientists create new nanotech building blocks

Tempe, AZ | Posted on June 3rd, 2008

In the Biodesign Institute at ASU, researchers are using DNA to make intricate, nano-sized objects. Working at this scale holds great potential for advancing medical and electronic applications.

DNA, often thought of as the "molecule of life," is an ideal building block for nanotechnology because it self-assembles, snapping together into shapes based on natural chemical rules of attraction. This is a major advantage for Biodesign researchers such as Hao Yan, who rely on the unique chemical and physical properties of DNA to make their complex nanostructures.

While scientists are fully exploring the promise of DNA nanotechnology, Biodesign Institute colleague John Chaput is working to give researchers brand new materials to aid their designs. In an article recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Chaput and his research team have made the first self-assembled nanostructures composed entirely of glycerol nucleic acid (GNA) - a synthetic analog of DNA.

"Everyone in DNA nanotechnology is essentially limited by what they can buy off the shelf," says Chaput, who also is an ASU assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "We wanted to build synthetic molecules that assembled like DNA, but had additional properties not found in natural DNA."

The DNA helix is made up of three simple parts: a sugar and a phosphate molecule that form the backbone of the DNA ladder, and one of four nitrogenous bases that make up the rungs. The nitrogenous base pairing rules in the DNA chemical alphabet fold DNA into a variety of useful shapes for nanotechnology, given that "A" can only form a zipper-like chemical bond with "T," and "G" can only pair with "C."

In the case of GNA, the sugar is the only difference with DNA. The five-carbon sugar commonly found in DNA, called deoxyribose, is substituted by glycerol, which contains just three carbon atoms.

Chaput has had a long-standing interest in tinkering with chemical building blocks used to make molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids that do not exist in nature. When it came time to synthesize the first self-assembled GNA nanostructures, Chaput went back to basics.

"The idea behind the research was what to start with a simple DNA nanostructure that we could just mimic," Chaput says.

The first self-assembled DNA nanostructure was made by Ned Seeman's lab at Columbia University in 1998, the very same laboratory where Yan received his doctoral degree.

Chaput's team, which includes graduate students Richard Zhang and Elizabeth McCullum, was able to duplicate these structures - and, unique to GNA, the team members found they could make mirror-image nanostructures.

In nature, many molecules important to life, such as DNA and proteins, have evolved to exist only as right-handed. The GNA structures, unlike DNA, turned out to be "enantiomeric" molecules - which, in chemical terms, means both left- and right-handed.

"Making GNA is not tricky," Chaput says. "It's just three steps - and, with three carbon atoms, only one stereo center. It allows us to make these right- and left-handed biomolecules. People have made left-handed DNA, but it is a synthetic nightmare. To use it for DNA nanotechnology could never work. It's too high of a cost to make, so one could never get enough material."

####

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a new model for American higher education, an unprecedented combination of academic excellence, broad access, and impact. This New American University is a single, unified institution comprising four differentiated campuses that positively impact the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its research is inspired by real world application, blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines. ASU serves more than 63,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nation’s fifth largest city. ASU champions intellectual and cultural diversity, and welcomes students from all fifty states and more than one hundred nations.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:

Joe Caspermeyer

(480) 727-0969
Biodesign Institute

Copyright © Arizona State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

RF Heating of Magnetic Nanoparticles Improves the Thawing of Cryopreserved Biomaterials October 23rd, 2014

TARA Biosystems and Harris & Harris Group Form Company to Improve Safety and Efficacy of New Therapies October 22nd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Discoveries

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

RF Heating of Magnetic Nanoparticles Improves the Thawing of Cryopreserved Biomaterials October 23rd, 2014

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Announcements

Advancing thin film research with nanostructured AZO: Innovnano’s unique and cost-effective AZO sputtering targets for the production of transparent conducting oxides October 23rd, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

RF Heating of Magnetic Nanoparticles Improves the Thawing of Cryopreserved Biomaterials October 23rd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

‘Designer’ nanodevice could improve treatment options for cancer sufferers October 22nd, 2014

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices October 20th, 2014

Scientists Map Key Moment in Assembly of DNA-Splitting Molecular Machine: Crucial steps and surprising structures revealed in the genesis of the enzyme that divides the DNA double helix during cell replication October 15th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE





  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE