Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > UCSB Scientists Synthesize First Genetically Evolved Semiconductor Material

First Author
Lukmaan Bawazer
First Author Lukmaan Bawazer

Abstract:
In the not-too-distant future, scientists may be able to use DNA to grow their own specialized materials, thanks to the concept of directed evolution. UC Santa Barbara scientists have, for the first time, used genetic engineering and molecular evolution to develop the enzymatic synthesis of a semiconductor.

UCSB Scientists Synthesize First Genetically Evolved Semiconductor Material

Santa Barbara, CA | Posted on June 13th, 2012

"In the realm of human technologies it would be a new method, but it's an ancient approach in nature," said Lukmaan Bawazer, first author of the paper, "Evolutionary selection of enzymatically synthesized semiconductors from biomimetic mineralization vesicles," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Bawazer, who was a Ph.D. student at the time, wrote the paper with co-authors at UCSB's Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Biomolecular Science and Engineering; Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies; California NanoSystems Institute and Materials Research Laboratory; and Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Daniel Morse, UCSB professor emeritus of biochemistry of molecular genetics, directed the research.

Using silicateins, proteins responsible for the formation of silica skeletons in marine sponges, the researchers were able to generate new mineral architectures by directing the evolution of these enzymes. Silicateins, which are genetically encoded, serve as templates for the silica skeletons and control their mineralization, thus participating in similar types of processes by which animal and human bones are formed. Silica, also known as silicon, is the primary material in most commercially manufactured semiconductors.

In this study, polystyrene microbeads coated with specific silicateins were put through a mineralization reaction by incubating the beads in a water-in-oil emulsion that contained chemical precursors for mineralization: metals of either silicon or titanium dissolved in the oil or water phase of the emulsion. As the silicateins reacted with the dissolved metals, they precipitated them, integrating the metals into the resulting structure and forming nanoparticles of silicon dioxide or titanium dioxide.

With the creation of a silicatein gene pool, through what Bawazer only somewhat euphemistically calls "molecular sex" -- the combination and recombination of various silicatein genetic materials -- the scientists were able to create a multitude of silicateins, and then select for the ones with desired properties.

"This genetic population was exposed to two environmental pressures that shaped the selected minerals: The silicateins needed to make (that is, mineralize) materials directly on the surface of the beads, and then the mineral structures needed to be amenable to physical disruption to expose the encoding genes," said Bawazer. The beads that exhibited mineralization were sorted from the ones that didn't, and then fractured to release the genetic information they contained, which could either be studied, or evolved further.

The process yielded forms of silicatein not available in nature, that behaved differently in the formation of mineral structures. For example, some silicateins self-assembled into sheets and made dispersed mineral nanoparticles, as opposed to more typical agglomerated particles formed by natural silicateins. In some cases, crystalline materials were also formed, demonstrating a crystal-forming ability that was acquired through directed evolution, said Bawazer.

Because silicateins are enzymes, said Bawazer, with relatively long amino acid chains that can fold into precise shapes, there is the potential for more functionality than would be possible using shorter biopolymers or more traditional synthetic approaches. In addition, the process could potentially work with a variety of metals, to evolve different types of materials. By changing the laboratory-controlled environments in which directed evolution occurs, it will be possible to evolve materials with specific capacities, like high performance in an evolved solar cell, for example.

"Here we've demonstrated the evolution of material structure; I'd like to take it a step further and evolve material performance in a functional device," said Bawazer.

Research for this paper was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sonia Fernandez

(805) 893-4765
George Foulsham

(805) 893-3071

Copyright © University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

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

Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules August 22nd, 2014

A breakthrough in imaging gold nanoparticles to atomic resolution by electron microscopy August 22nd, 2014

Ultra-short pulse lasers & Positioning August 21st, 2014

Malvern’s Dr Alan Rawle talks TLAs in plenary lecture at Particulate Systems Analysis conference August 21st, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Shaping the Future of Nanocrystals: Berkeley Lab Researchers Obtain First Direct Observation of Facet Formation in Nanocubes August 21st, 2014

Success in Intracellular Imaging of Cesium Distribution in Plants Used for Cesium Absorption August 19th, 2014

Electrical engineers take major step toward photonic circuits: Team invents non-metallic metamaterial that enables them to 'compress' and contain light August 19th, 2014

Promising Ferroelectric Materials Suffer From Unexpected Electric Polarizations: Brookhaven Lab scientists find surprising locked charge polarizations that impede performance in next-gen materials that could otherwise revolutionize data-driven devices August 18th, 2014

Chip Technology

Electrical engineers take major step toward photonic circuits: Team invents non-metallic metamaterial that enables them to 'compress' and contain light August 19th, 2014

Promising Ferroelectric Materials Suffer From Unexpected Electric Polarizations: Brookhaven Lab scientists find surprising locked charge polarizations that impede performance in next-gen materials that could otherwise revolutionize data-driven devices August 18th, 2014

AI Technology (AIT) Introduces Novel High Temperature Large Area Underfill with Proven Stress Absorption August 15th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Stabilize Protein on Highly Stable Electrode Surface August 14th, 2014

Discoveries

Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules August 22nd, 2014

A breakthrough in imaging gold nanoparticles to atomic resolution by electron microscopy August 22nd, 2014

Shaping the Future of Nanocrystals: Berkeley Lab Researchers Obtain First Direct Observation of Facet Formation in Nanocubes August 21st, 2014

Water window imaging opportunity: A new theoretical study elucidates mechanisms that could help in producing coherent radiations, ultimately promoting high-contrast imaging of biological samples August 21st, 2014

Announcements

Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules August 22nd, 2014

A breakthrough in imaging gold nanoparticles to atomic resolution by electron microscopy August 22nd, 2014

Malvern’s Dr Alan Rawle talks TLAs in plenary lecture at Particulate Systems Analysis conference August 21st, 2014

Water window imaging opportunity: A new theoretical study elucidates mechanisms that could help in producing coherent radiations, ultimately promoting high-contrast imaging of biological samples August 21st, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

The channel that relaxes DNA: Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels: Instructions for use August 20th, 2014

Сalculations with Nanoscale Smart Particles August 19th, 2014

Interaction between Drug, DNA for Designing Anticancer Drugs Studied in Iran August 17th, 2014

Scientists fold RNA origami from a single strand: RNA origami is a new method for organizing molecules on the nanoscale. Using just a single strand of RNA, this technique can produce many complicated shapes. August 14th, 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