Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New structures self-assemble in synchronized dance

Photo by
L. Brian Stauffer

Researchers from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University demonstrated tiny spheres that synchronize their movements as they self-assemble into a spinning microtube. From left, Erik Luijten, Jing Yan, Steve Granick and Sung Chul Bae.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Researchers from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University demonstrated tiny spheres that synchronize their movements as they self-assemble into a spinning microtube. From left, Erik Luijten, Jing Yan, Steve Granick and Sung Chul Bae.

Abstract:
With self-assembly guiding the steps and synchronization providing the rhythm, a new class of materials forms dynamic, moving structures in an intricate dance.

New structures self-assemble in synchronized dance

Champaign, IL | Posted on November 21st, 2012

Researchers from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have demonstrated tiny spheres that synchronize their movements as they self-assemble into a spinning microtube. Such in-motion structures, a blending of mathematics and materials science, could open a new class of technologies with applications in medicine, chemistry and engineering. The results will be published in the Nov. 22 edition of the journal Nature.

"The world's concept of self-assembly has been to think of static structures - something you would see in a still image," said Steve Granick, the Founder Professor of Engineering at the U. of I. and a co-leader of the study. "We want shape-shifting structures. Structures where a photograph doesn't tell you what matters. It's like the difference between a photograph and a movie."

The researchers used tiny particles called Janus spheres, named after the Roman god with two faces, which Granick's group developed and previously demonstrated for self-assembly of static structures. In this study, one half of each sphere is coated with a magnetic metal. When dispersed in solution and exposed to a rotating magnetic field, each sphere spins in a gyroscopic motion. They spin at the same frequency but all face a different direction, like a group of dancers in a ballroom dancing to the same beat but performing their own steps.

As two particles approach one another, they synchronize their motions and begin spinning around a shared center, facing opposite directions, similar to the way a couple dancing together falls in step looking at one another.

"They are both magnetized, which causes them to attract each other, but because they're moving, they have to move in sync," said Erik Luijten, a professor of materials science and engineering and of applied mathematics at Northwestern University who co-led the research with Granick.

Soon, the pairs and clusters of dancing spheres assemble themselves into a microtube - a long, hollow structure. The entire tube spins, even as each individual sphere continues its motion as well, like dancers in a line dance completing their individual steps as the line moves.

"It's spontaneous. We don't force it to form," said U. of I. graduate student Jing Yan, the first author of the paper. "We saw that during the self-assembly process, the synchronization also happens. If you look at the spheres, every one is doing a different thing. Only when they come in close contact will they do something cooperatively. The two concepts are intricately related in this system."

Now that the researchers have detailed the delicate choreography of synchronization and self-assembly, they hope to explore applications for this new class of moving structures. One potential application of a dynamic, self-assembled microtube is to transport and release cargo. A particle or collection of molecules could be encapsulated in the tube and transported to a different location. Then, the tube can be disintegrated, releasing the cargo at a target point.

"We're looking for the new applications that people haven't dreamt up yet because they didn't have the capability," said Granick, a professor of materials science and engineering.

Next, the researchers are working to further understand the properties governing synchronized self-assembly and ways to guide it for functionality, such as manipulating the structures with an electrical or magnetic field. They also plan to explore directing the Janus spheres to synchronized self-assembly of other shapes and structures, allowing even more applications.

"Traditionally in self-assembly, you make a specific building block that will organize into a specific structure," Luijten said. "If you want a different structure you have to make a different building block. Here now, with one building block, we can control the structure by exploiting the synchronization effect."

The U.S. Army Research Office, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation supported this work. U. of I. research scientist Sung Chul Bae and Northwestern University graduate student Moses Bloom were co-authors of the paper. Granick also is affiliated with the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory and with the departments of chemistry, physics, biophysics, and chemical and biomolecular engineering at Illinois. Luijten also is associated with the department of engineering sciences πat Northwestern University.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Liz Ahlberg
Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1079


Steve Granick
217-333-5720


Erik Luijten
847-491-4097

Copyright © University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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

Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture Surfaces inspired by carnivorous plants delay degradation by marine fouling January 17th, 2018

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Announces Proposed Underwritten Offering of Common Stock January 17th, 2018

Physics

New exotic phenomena seen in photonic crystals: Researchers observe, for the first time, topological effects unique to an “open” system January 12th, 2018

Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure: Researchers are the first to observe the electronic structure of graphene in an engineered semiconductor; finding could lead to progress in advanced optoelectronics and data processing December 13th, 2017

Leti Develops World’s First Micro-Coolers for CERN Particle Detectors: Leti Design, Fabrication and Packaging Expertise Extends to Very Large Scientific Instruments December 11th, 2017

Inorganic-organic halide perovskites for new photovoltaic technology November 6th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

The nanoscopic structure that locks up our genes January 16th, 2018

New exotic phenomena seen in photonic crystals: Researchers observe, for the first time, topological effects unique to an “open” system January 12th, 2018

Possible Futures

Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture Surfaces inspired by carnivorous plants delay degradation by marine fouling January 17th, 2018

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

Self Assembly

Particle size matters for porous building blocks: Rice University scientists find porous nanoparticles get tougher under pressure, but not when assembled December 19th, 2017

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement: Enormous potential for the targeted delivery of pharmaceutical agents and the creation of tailored nanoparticles July 27th, 2017

Oddball enzyme provides easy path to synthetic biomaterials May 17th, 2017

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Discoveries

Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture Surfaces inspired by carnivorous plants delay degradation by marine fouling January 17th, 2018

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

Materials/Metamaterials

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Nanotube fibers in a jiffy: Rice University lab makes short nanotube samples by hand to dramatically cut production time January 11th, 2018

New oxide and semiconductor combination builds new device potential: Researchers integrated oxide two-dimensional electron gases with gallium arsenide and paved the way toward new opto-electrical devices January 10th, 2018

Ultrafine fibers have exceptional strength: New technique developed at MIT could produce strong, resilient nanofibers for many applications January 5th, 2018

Announcements

Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture Surfaces inspired by carnivorous plants delay degradation by marine fouling January 17th, 2018

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy: Osaka University researchers use sunlight to make hydrogen with a new nanostructured catalyst based on nanosheets of black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate January 17th, 2018

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures: Novel approach lays groundwork for using 3-D printing to repair tissue in the body January 17th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Announces Proposed Underwritten Offering of Common Stock January 17th, 2018

Military

New exotic phenomena seen in photonic crystals: Researchers observe, for the first time, topological effects unique to an “open” system January 12th, 2018

Nanotube fibers in a jiffy: Rice University lab makes short nanotube samples by hand to dramatically cut production time January 11th, 2018

Ultrafine fibers have exceptional strength: New technique developed at MIT could produce strong, resilient nanofibers for many applications January 5th, 2018

NRL improves optical efficiency in nanophotonic devices January 4th, 2018

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