Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > UCLA chemists create synthetic 'gene-like' crystals for carbon dioxide capture

Image of 3-D, synthetic DNA-like crystals created by Yaghi, Deng and colleagues. Credit: CNSI, UCLA–Department of Energy Institute of Genomics and Proteomics
Image of 3-D, synthetic DNA-like crystals created by Yaghi, Deng and colleagues. Credit: CNSI, UCLA–Department of Energy Institute of Genomics and Proteomics

Abstract:
UCLA chemists report creating a synthetic "gene" that could capture heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming, rising sea levels and the increased acidity of oceans.

The research appears in the Feb. 12 issue of the journal Science.

UCLA chemists create synthetic 'gene-like' crystals for carbon dioxide capture

Los Angeles, CA | Posted on February 11th, 2010

"We created three-dimensional, synthetic DNA-like crystals," said UCLA chemistry and biochemistry professor Omar M. Yaghi, who is a member of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA and the UCLA-Department of Energy Institute of Genomics and Proteomics. "We have taken organic and inorganic units and combined them into a synthetic crystal which codes information in a DNA-like manner. It is by no means as sophisticated as DNA, but it is certainly new in chemistry and materials science."

The discovery could lead to cleaner energy, including technology that factories and cars can use to capture carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere.

"What we think this will be important for is potentially getting to a viable carbon dioxide-capture material with ultra-high selectivity," said Yaghi, who holds UCLA's Irving and Jean Stone Chair in Physical Sciences and is director of the CNSI's Center for Reticular Chemistry. "I am optimistic that is within our reach. Potentially, we could create a material that can convert carbon dioxide into a fuel, or a material that can separate carbon dioxide with greater efficiency."

The research was federally funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The lead author is Hexiang "DJ" Deng, a UCLA graduate student of chemistry and biochemistry who works in Yaghi's laboratory.

"DNA is a beautiful molecule that has a way to code for information," Yaghi said. "How do you code information in a crystal in the same way that DNA does? DJ and I figured out a way to do this. The sequence of organic functionalities that decorates the pores of the crystals is most certainly a unique code.

"DJ has illustrated that one member of a series of materials he has made has 400 percent better performance in carbon dioxide capture than one that does not have the same code," he said.

In the early 1990s, Yaghi invented a class of materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), sometimes described as crystal sponges, in which he can change the components nearly at will. MOFs have pores — openings on the nanoscale in which Yaghi and his colleagues can store gases that are usually difficult to store and transport. Molecules can go in and out of the pores unobstructed. Yaghi and his research team have made thousands of MOFs.

"We have created crystals of metal-organic frameworks in which the sequence of multiple functionalities of varying kind and ratios acts as a synthetic 'gene,'" Yaghi said. "With these multivariate MOFs, we have figured out a way to incorporate controlled complexity, which biology operates on, in a synthetic crystal — taking synthetic crystals to a new level of performance.

"This can be a boon for energy-related and other industrial applications, such as conversion of gases and liquids like carbon dioxide to fuel, or water to hydrogen, among many others," he said.

Yaghi has been collaborating with his former UCLA chemistry colleague and former CNSI director Sir J. Fraser Stoddart on how to take concepts from biology and incorporate them into a synthetic material.

"We hope the materials we are creating will introduce a new class of structures that have controlled complexity," Yaghi said. "Chemists and materials scientists are now able to ask new questions we have never asked before. Also, new tools for characterizing the sequences and deciphering the codes within the crystals will have to be developed."

Carbon dioxide is polluting Earth's atmosphere and damaging coral reefs and marine life — impacts that are irreversible in our lifetime, Yaghi said.

Co-authors on the study are Christian Doonan and Hiroyasu Furukawa, UCLA postdoctoral scholars in Yaghi's laboratory; Ricardo Ferreira, a UCLA visiting undergraduate; John Towne, a former UCLA undergraduate; Carolyn Knobler, a research associate in Yaghi's laboratory; and Bo Wang, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar in Yaghi's laboratory.

Try 100 times

A few years ago, Yaghi spoke at Shanghai's Fudan University, which is known for having one of the best chemistry departments in China. There, he met Deng, who at the time was an undergraduate student at the university. Deng and his colleagues had tried unsuccessfully to make new MOFs.

"DJ told me, 'Professor, we tried a slight variation to make new MOFs and it did not work,'" Yaghi recalled. "I asked, 'How many times did you try?' He said, 'Two or three times.' I said, 'How about 20 times, 30 times? How about 100 times? If it were that easy, why would it need a smart person like you to do it? Success and excellence do not come that easily.' I said, 'If you really want to learn how to do MOF chemistry, you better come and work with me.' I think that shocked him, but here he is."

How did Deng react to Yaghi's offer?

"Definitely," said Deng, who plans to become a chemistry professor. "And," he added, "the story ends with me trying enough times to get it right. It took me about a hundred more times."

"With MOF chemistry," Yaghi said, "it is not all design; there is a lot of trial and error because we are trying to learn what nature is telling us, and learning that code takes time.

"What is special about DJ and the other students who have worked in my laboratory is that no matter how much you raise the bar, they jump high enough to rise above it," Yaghi said. "It takes a special student to do that, but they are out there, and they need to be inspired. Working with students like DJ that I can challenge in this way is every professor's dream."

####

About UCLA
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Five alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contacts
Stuart Wolpert
310-206-0511

Copyright © UCLA

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

Nanobiotix: Update on Head and Neck Phase I/II Trial with NBTXR3 and Other program data presented at ImmunoRad 2018 September 20th, 2018

NUS researchers invent new test kit for quick, accurate and low-cost screening of diseases: Test results are denoted by a color change and could be further analyzed by a smartphone app, making it attractive as a point-of-care diagnostic device September 19th, 2018

Silver nanoparticles are toxic for aquatic organisms: A research team at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has analysed how zebrafish are affected in the long term by exposure to silver particles September 19th, 2018

Leti Announces EU Project to Develop Powerful, Inexpensive Sensors with Photonic Integrated Circuits: REDFINCH Members Initially Targeting Applications for Gas Detection and Analysis For Refineries & Petrochemical Industry and Protein Analysis for Dairy Industry September 19th, 2018

Synthetic Biology

Nanoscience and the future of healthcare kick off first day of ACS national meeting in Boston: Presidential events highlight safety, diversity and groundbreaking research August 2nd, 2018

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves computationally designed protein assemblies are advancing research in synthetic life and in targeted drug delivery December 15th, 2017

Report highlights opportunities and risks associated with synthetic biology and bioengineering November 22nd, 2017

Living computers: RNA circuits transform cells into nanodevices July 27th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Researchers develop microbubble scrubber to destroy dangerous biofilms September 19th, 2018

Researchers managed to prevent the disappearing of quantum information September 14th, 2018

New photonic chip promises more robust quantum computers September 14th, 2018

Could a demon help to create a quantum computer? Physicists implement a version of Maxwell's famous thought experiment for reducing entropy September 5th, 2018

Possible Futures

NUS researchers invent new test kit for quick, accurate and low-cost screening of diseases: Test results are denoted by a color change and could be further analyzed by a smartphone app, making it attractive as a point-of-care diagnostic device September 19th, 2018

Silver nanoparticles are toxic for aquatic organisms: A research team at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has analysed how zebrafish are affected in the long term by exposure to silver particles September 19th, 2018

Leti Announces EU Project to Develop Powerful, Inexpensive Sensors with Photonic Integrated Circuits: REDFINCH Members Initially Targeting Applications for Gas Detection and Analysis For Refineries & Petrochemical Industry and Protein Analysis for Dairy Industry September 19th, 2018

Researchers develop microbubble scrubber to destroy dangerous biofilms September 19th, 2018

Announcements

Nanobiotix: Update on Head and Neck Phase I/II Trial with NBTXR3 and Other program data presented at ImmunoRad 2018 September 20th, 2018

NUS researchers invent new test kit for quick, accurate and low-cost screening of diseases: Test results are denoted by a color change and could be further analyzed by a smartphone app, making it attractive as a point-of-care diagnostic device September 19th, 2018

Silver nanoparticles are toxic for aquatic organisms: A research team at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has analysed how zebrafish are affected in the long term by exposure to silver particles September 19th, 2018

Leti Announces EU Project to Develop Powerful, Inexpensive Sensors with Photonic Integrated Circuits: REDFINCH Members Initially Targeting Applications for Gas Detection and Analysis For Refineries & Petrochemical Industry and Protein Analysis for Dairy Industry September 19th, 2018

Environment

Silver nanoparticles are toxic for aquatic organisms: A research team at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has analysed how zebrafish are affected in the long term by exposure to silver particles September 19th, 2018

Carbon nanodots do an ultrafine job with in vitro lung tissue: New experiments highlight the role of charge and size when it comes to carbon nanodots that mimic the effect of nanoscale pollution particles on the human lung. September 12th, 2018

A human enzyme can biodegrade graphene August 28th, 2018

Large scale preparation method of high quality SWNT sponges August 24th, 2018

Energy

Leti Announces EU Project to Develop Powerful, Inexpensive Sensors with Photonic Integrated Circuits: REDFINCH Members Initially Targeting Applications for Gas Detection and Analysis For Refineries & Petrochemical Industry and Protein Analysis for Dairy Industry September 19th, 2018

S, N co-doped carbon nanotube-encapsulated CoS2@Co: Efficient and stable catalysts for water splitting September 10th, 2018

September 5th, 2018

Rice U. lab probes molecular limit of plasmonics: Optical effect detailed in organic molecules with fewer than 50 atoms September 5th, 2018

Automotive/Transportation

A Comprehensive Guide: The Future of Nanotechnology September 13th, 2018

Mirrorcle Demonstrates MEMS-based Programmable Light Source at CES and PW18 August 30th, 2018

Strategic Materials Conference 2018 Highlights “Materials Shaping the Future of Electronics” July 30th, 2018

Researchers use nanotechnology to improve the accuracy of measuring devices July 24th, 2018

Industrial

Graphene nanotubes outperform ammonium salts and carbon black in PU applications September 11th, 2018

Carbon in color: First-ever colored thin films of nanotubes created: A method developed at Aalto University, Finland, can produce large quantities of pristine single-walled carbon nanotubes in select shades of the rainbow; the secret is a fine-tuned fabrication process -- and a s August 29th, 2018

Connecting the (Nano) Dots: NIST Says Big-Picture Thinking Can Advance Nanoparticle Manufacturing August 22nd, 2018

A colossal breakthrough for topological spintronics: BiSb expands the potential of topological insulators for ultra-low-power electronic devices August 2nd, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project