Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Armchair Science: DNA Strands That Select Nanotubes Are First Step to a Practical ‘Quantum Wire’


Wrapped up in their work: Molecular model shows a single-strand DNA molecule (yellow ribbon) coiled around an "armchair" carbon nanotube.
Credit: Roxbury, Jagota/NIST
Wrapped up in their work: Molecular model shows a single-strand DNA molecule (yellow ribbon) coiled around an "armchair" carbon nanotube.
Credit: Roxbury, Jagota/NIST

Abstract:
DNA, a molecule famous for storing the genetic blueprints for all living things, can do other things as well. In a new paper,* researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) describe how tailored single strands of DNA can be used to purify the highly desired "armchair" form of carbon nanotubes. Armchair-form single wall carbon nanotubes are needed to make "quantum wires" for low-loss, long distance electricity transmission and wiring.

Armchair Science: DNA Strands That Select Nanotubes Are First Step to a Practical ‘Quantum Wire’

Gaithersburg, MD | Posted on August 3rd, 2011

Single-wall carbon nanotubes are usually about a nanometer in diameter, but they can be millions of nanometers in length. It's as if you took a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, arranged in a hexagonal pattern, and curled it into a cylinder, like rolling up a piece of chicken wire. If you've tried the latter, you know that there are many possibilities, depending on how carefully you match up the edges, from neat, perfectly matched rows of hexagons ringing the cylinder, to rows that wrap in spirals at various angles—"chiralities" in chemist-speak.

Chirality plays an important role in nanotube properties. Most behave like semiconductors, but a few are metals. One special chiral form—the so-called "armchair carbon nanotube"**—behaves like a pure metal and is the ideal quantum wire, according to NIST researcher Xiaomin Tu.
Armchair carbon nanotubes could revolutionize electric power systems, large and small, Tu says. Wires made from them are predicted to conduct electricity 10 times better than copper, with far less loss, at a sixth the weight. But researchers face two obstacles: producing totally pure starting samples of armchair nanotubes, and "cloning" them for mass production. The first challenge, as the authors note, has been "an elusive goal."

Separating one particular chirality of nanotube from all others starts with coating them to get them to disperse in solution, as, left to themselves, they'll clump together in a dark mass. A variety of materials have been used as dispersants, including polymers, proteins and DNA. The NIST trick is to select a DNA strand that has a particular affinity for the desired type of nanotube. In earlier work,*** team leader Ming Zheng and colleagues demonstrated DNA strands that could select for one of the semiconductor forms of carbon nanotubes, an easier target. In this new paper, the group describes how they methodically stepped through simple mutations of the semiconductor-friendly DNA to "evolve" a pattern that preferred the metallic armchair nanotubes instead.

"We believe that what happens is that, with the right nanotube, the DNA wraps helically around the tube," explains Constantine Khripin, "and the DNA nucleotide bases can connect with each other in a way similar to how they bond in double-stranded DNA." According to Zheng, "The DNA forms this tight barrel around the nanotube. I love this idea because it's kind of a lock and key. The armchair nanotube is a key that fits inside this DNA structure—you have this kind of molecular recognition."
Once the target nanotubes are enveloped with the DNA, standard chemistry techniques such as chromatography can be used to separate them from the mix with high efficiency.

"Now that we have these pure nanotube samples," says team member Angela Hight Walker, "we can probe the underlying physics of these materials to further understand their unique properties. As an example, some optical features once thought to be indicative of metallic carbon nanotubes are not present in these armchair samples."

* X. Tu, A.R. Hight Walker, C.Y. Khripin and M. Zheng. Evolution of DNA sequences towards recognition of metallic armchair carbon nanotubes. J. Am. Chem. Soc., Just Accepted Manuscript, Web publication: July 21, 2011.

** From the distinctive shape of the edge of the cylinder.

*** X. Tu, S. Manohar, A. Jagota and M. Zheng. DNA sequence motifs for structure-specific recognition and separation of carbon nanotubes. Nature, 460, 250-253, July 9, 2009.

####

About NIST
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Michael Baum
(301) 975-2763

Copyright © NIST

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

Laboratories

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

News and information

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene July 26th, 2016

Chip Technology

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites: Method to stack hundreds of nanoscale layers could open new vistas in materials science July 25th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Easier, faster, cheaper: A full-filling approach to making nanotubes of consistent quality: Approach opens a straightforward route for engineering the properties of single-wall carbon nanotubes July 19th, 2016

Sensing trouble: A new way to detect hidden damage in bridges, roads: University of Delaware engineers devise new method for monitoring structural health July 8th, 2016

Wireless, wearable toxic-gas detector: Inexpensive sensors could be worn by soldiers to detect hazardous chemical agents July 4th, 2016

Nanotubes' 'stuffing' as is: A scientist from the Lomonosov Moscow State University studied the types of carbon nanotubes' 'stuffing' June 2nd, 2016

Discoveries

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene July 26th, 2016

Announcements

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016

Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene July 26th, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Accurate design of large icosahedral protein nanocages pushes bioengineering boundaries: Scientists used computational methods to build ten large, two-component, co-assembling icosahedral protein complexes the size of small virus coats July 25th, 2016

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations July 23rd, 2016

Nanoparticle versus cancer: Scientists have created nanoparticles which cure cancer harmlessly July 22nd, 2016

Quantum nanoscience

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

A new spin on reality July 15th, 2016

Physicists couple distant nuclear spins using a single electron: For the first time, researchers at the University of Basel have coupled the nuclear spins of distant atoms using just a single electron July 12th, 2016

Quantum technologies to revolutionize 21st century: Nobel Laureates to discuss impacts at 66th Lindau Meeting July 5th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic