Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > German-Finnish research team succeeds in organizing programmed nanoparticles into highly complex nanostructures: New principle for the self-assembly of patterned nanoparticles published in NATURE may have important implications for nanotechnology and future technologies

Ill./©: Müller Research Group
The self-assembly process described in Nature commences with chain-like macromolecules, so-called triblock terpolymers composed of three linear sections connected to form a chain-like structure A-B-C or A-D-C. The block in the middle has been marked green or black, respectively. Block A (gray) has to interact with other particles; block C (rose) is a corona controlling solubility. By way of self-aggregation the macromolecules formed nanoparticles, which by way of co-aggregation formed the next higher level in the hierarchy. This way a co-assembled superstructure develops, for which Müller's research team has coined the term "caterpillar micelles."
Ill./©: Müller Research Group

The self-assembly process described in Nature commences with chain-like macromolecules, so-called triblock terpolymers composed of three linear sections connected to form a chain-like structure A-B-C or A-D-C. The block in the middle has been marked green or black, respectively. Block A (gray) has to interact with other particles; block C (rose) is a corona controlling solubility. By way of self-aggregation the macromolecules formed nanoparticles, which by way of co-aggregation formed the next higher level in the hierarchy. This way a co-assembled superstructure develops, for which Müller's research team has coined the term "caterpillar micelles."

Abstract:
Animal and plant cells are prominent examples of how nature constructs ever-larger units in a targeted, preprogrammed manner using molecules as building blocks. In nanotechnology, scientists mimic this ‘bottom-up' technique by using the ability of suitably structured nano materials to ‘self-assemble' into higher order architectures. Applying this concept, polymer scientists from Bayreuth, Aachen, Jena, Mainz, and Helsinki have recently published an article in the prestigious journal Nature that describes a new principle for the self-assembly of patterned nanoparticles. This principle may have important implications for the fundamental understanding of such processes as well as future technologies.

German-Finnish research team succeeds in organizing programmed nanoparticles into highly complex nanostructures: New principle for the self-assembly of patterned nanoparticles published in NATURE may have important implications for nanotechnology and future technologies

Mainz, Germany | Posted on November 7th, 2013

The research team is headed by Professor Axel Müller, who was holder of the Chair of Macromolecular Chemistry II at the University of Bayreuth until his retirement in 2012; he is now a Fellow of the Gutenberg Research College at Mainz University. The other members of the team are Dr. André Gröschel (previously at the University of Bayreuth, now Aalto University Helsinki), Tina Löbling and Dr. Holger Schmalz (University of Bayreuth), Dr. Andreas Walther (Interactive Materials Research Center at Aachen University), and Junior Professor Dr. Felix Schacher (Friedrich Schiller University Jena). The research was conducted at the University of Bayreuth and funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Collaborative Research Center 840 "From Particulate Nano-Systems to Mesotechnology."

The self-assembly process described in Nature commences with chain-like macromolecules with a size in the range of 10 to 20 nanometers. In chemistry, such macromolecules are called triblock terpolymers. They are composed of three linear sections (blocks) connected to each other in sequence. They are generated using a special synthetic process, i.e., the so-called "living polymerization," and are readily available to researchers. The research team was able to guide the triblock macromolecules into soft nanoparticles with a diameter of roughly 50 nanometers. The choice of solvents played a key role in this macromolecular self-assembly process. The solvents were precisely selected and used so that the varying solubility of the three blocks and the incompatibility of the polymers with one another contributed significantly to the quality of the desired interior structure of the nanoparticles.

The scientists applied this technique to two types of triblock terpolymers. These differed with regard to the chemical properties of the middle blocks. The block sequences of the macromolecules were A-B-C and A-D-C, respectively. The first results in nanoparticles with a single bonding site and tends to form spherical clusters, while the latter creates nanoparticles with two bonding sites and thus tends to form linear superstructures. Importantly, in both cases the structure of the nanoparticles is preprogrammed by the chemical structure of the source macromolecule in the same way as the structure of a protein is determined by its amino acid sequence.

However, the process of self-assembly does not end with the nanoparticles. If the nanoparticles formed by each type of macromolecule were left to their own, spherical superstructures would result on the one hand and linear superstructures on the other. Müller's team has developed and implemented a different approach. The nanoparticles with one and two bonding sites are mixed so that they aggregate together into a completely new superstructure in a process of co-assembly. In the final superstructure, the nanoparticles originating from the A-B-C molecules and nanoparticles formed by the A-D-C molecules alternate in a precisely defined pattern.

When viewed under a transmission electron microscope, the new superstructure bears a strong resemblance to a caterpillar larva, because it also consists of a series of clearly separate, regularly ordered sections. Müller's research team has thus coined the term "caterpillar micelles" for such co-assembled superstructures.

The research findings recently published in Nature represent a breakthrough in the field of hierarchical structuring and nano-engineering as it allows creating new materials by self-assemble preprogrammed particles. This could be a game changer, because so far only top-down procedures, i.e., extracting a microstructure from a larger complex, are widely accepted structuring processes. "The limitations of this technique will become all too apparent in the near future," explained Müller. "Only rarely is it possible to generate complex structures in the nanometer range."

However, a bottom-up principle of self-assembly based on that employed in nature could well represent the best way forward. One factor that makes this particularly attractive is the large number of macromolecules, which are readily available as building blocks. They can be used to incorporate specific properties in the resultant superstructures, such as sensitivity to environmental stimuli (e.g. temperature, light, electric and magnetic fields, etc.) or give them the ability to be switched on and off at will. Possible applications include nanolithography and the delivery of drugs in which the time and site of release of active substances can be preprogrammed. Here, the similarity to the structural principles of animal and plant cells becomes apparent again, where various properties are compartmentalized into areas of limited space.

The macromolecules carrying diverse functional segments can be hundreds of times smaller than a micrometer. The superstructures that such macromolecules produce have correspondingly high resolution. "Future technologies - such as tailor-made artificial cells, transistors, or components for micro/nano-robotics - may benefit significantly from this particularly delicate structuring," explained Müller. "The research findings we published in Nature do not yet have any immediate real-world applications. Nevertheless, the better we understand bottom-up processes starting with molecules in the nanometer range and moving on to the higher hierarchical levels in the micrometer range, the more likely future technologies will be within our grasp." The caterpillar micelles are in no way the only superstructures that can be produced with the self-assembling nanoparticles. "Such soft nanoparticles can be combined with inorganic or biological nano- and microparticles to create previously unknown materials with specific functions. The number of possible combinations is practically endless," concluded Müller.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Dr. Axel H. E. Müller

49-613-139-22372

Copyright © Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

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 Links

Publication

Related News Press

News and information

Silicon Valley-Based Foresight Valuation Launches STR-IP™, a New Initiative for Startups to Discover the Value of Their Intellectual Property December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. - Hospital Collaboration - 400 Person Lung Cancer Detection Trial December 17th, 2014

Synthetic Biology

New tool could help reshape the limits of synthetic biology: The 'telomerator' reshapes synthetic yeast chromosome into more flexible, realistic form, redefining what geneticists can build November 3rd, 2014

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact October 29th, 2014

Smallest world record has 'endless possibilities' for bio-nanotechnology October 8th, 2014

Artificial Cells Act Like the Real Thing: Cell-like compartments produce proteins and communicate with one another, similar to natural biological systems August 18th, 2014

Possible Futures

A novel method for identifying the body’s ‘noisiest’ networks November 19th, 2014

Researchers discern the shapes of high-order Brownian motions November 17th, 2014

VDMA Electronics Production Equipment: Growth track for 2014 and 2015 confirmed: Business climate survey shows robust industry sector November 14th, 2014

Open Materials Development Will Be Key for HP's Success in 3D Printing: HP can make a big splash in 3D printing, but it needs to shore up technology claims and avoid the temptation of the razor/razor blade business model in order to flourish November 11th, 2014

Molecular Machines

Dartmouth researchers create 'green' process to reduce molecular switching waste December 15th, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 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

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

Molecular Nanotechnology

Dartmouth researchers create 'green' process to reduce molecular switching waste December 15th, 2014

New technique allows low-cost creation of 3-D nanostructures December 8th, 2014

Researchers discern the shapes of high-order Brownian motions November 17th, 2014

Manipulating complex molecules by hand: New method in scanning probe microscopy: Jülich researchers create a word using 47 molecules November 6th, 2014

Self Assembly

Revealed: How bacteria drill into our cells and kill them December 2nd, 2014

Live Images from the Nano-cosmos: Researchers watch layers of football molecules grow November 5th, 2014

Outsmarting Thermodynamics in Self-assembly of Nanostructures: Berkeley Lab reports method for symmetry-breaking in feedback-driven self-assembly of optical metamaterials November 4th, 2014

NYU Researchers Break Nano Barrier to Engineer the First Protein Microfiber October 23rd, 2014

Discoveries

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Switching to spintronics: Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp December 17th, 2014

ORNL microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale December 17th, 2014

Materials/Metamaterials

ORNL microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale December 17th, 2014

Pb islands in a sea of graphene magnetise the material of the future December 16th, 2014

Graphene Applied in Production of Recyclable Electrodes December 13th, 2014

A golden thread through the labyrinth of nanomaterials December 12th, 2014

Announcements

Silicon Valley-Based Foresight Valuation Launches STR-IP™, a New Initiative for Startups to Discover the Value of Their Intellectual Property December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

First Home-Made Edible Herbal Nanodrug Presented to Pharmacies across Iran December 17th, 2014

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

Fraud-proof credit card possible because of quantum physics December 16th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Scientists trace nanoparticles from plants to caterpillars: Rice University study examines how nanoparticles behave in food chain December 16th, 2014

FEI and Oregon Health & Science University Install a Complete Correlative Microscopy Workflow in Newly Built Collaborative Science Facility December 16th, 2014

UCLA engineers first to detect and measure individual DNA molecules using smartphone microscope December 15th, 2014

Biomimetic dew harvesters: Understanding how a desert beetle harvests water from dew could improve drinking water collection in dew condensers December 8th, 2014

Research partnerships

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

Scientists trace nanoparticles from plants to caterpillars: Rice University study examines how nanoparticles behave in food chain December 16th, 2014

FEI and Oregon Health & Science University Install a Complete Correlative Microscopy Workflow in Newly Built Collaborative Science Facility December 16th, 2014

New Technique Could Harvest More of the Sun's Energy December 9th, 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