Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Electrostatic force takes charge in bioinspired polymers

Inspired by the principles of natural polymer synthesis, Illinois chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Charles Sing, left, and graduate students Jason Madinya and Tyler Lytle co-authored a study that found they could create new synthetic materials by tuning the electrostatic charge of polymer chains.
CREDIT
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Inspired by the principles of natural polymer synthesis, Illinois chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Charles Sing, left, and graduate students Jason Madinya and Tyler Lytle co-authored a study that found they could create new synthetic materials by tuning the electrostatic charge of polymer chains. CREDIT Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Abstract:
Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst have taken the first steps toward gaining control over the self-assembly of synthetic materials in the same way that biology forms natural polymers. This advance could prove useful in designing new bioinspired, smart materials for applications ranging from drug delivery to sensing to remediation of environmental contaminants.

Electrostatic force takes charge in bioinspired polymers

Champaign, IL | Posted on November 2nd, 2017

Proteins, which are natural polymers, use amino acid building blocks to link together long molecular chains. The specific location of these building blocks, called monomers, within these chains creates sequences that dictate a polymer's structure and function. In the journal Nature Communications, the researchers describe how to utilize the concept of monomer sequencing to control polymer structure and function by taking advantage of a property present in both natural and synthetic polymers - electrostatic charge.

"Proteins encode information through a precise sequence of monomers. However, this precise control over sequence is much harder to control in synthetic polymers, so there has been a limit to the quality and amount of information that can be stored," said Charles Sing, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Illinois and a study co-author. "Instead, we can control the charge placement along the synthetic polymer chains to drive self-assembly processes."

"Our study focuses on a class of polymers, called coacervates, that separate like oil and water and form a gel-like substance," said Sarah Perry, a study co-author and University of Massachusetts, Amherst chemical engineering professor, as well as an Illinois alumna.

Through a series of experiments and computer simulations, the researchers found that the properties of the resulting charged gels can be tuned by changing the sequence of charges along the polymer chain.

"Manufacturers commonly use coacervates in cosmetics and food products to encapsulate flavors and additives, and as a way of controlling the 'feel' of the product," Sing said. "The challenge has been if they need to change the texture or the thickness, they would have to change the material being used."

Sing and Perry demonstrate that they can rearrange the structure of the polymer chains by tuning their charge to engineer the desired properties. "This is how biology makes the endless diversity of life with only a small number of molecular building blocks," Perry said. "We envision bringing this bioinspiration concept full circle by using coacervates in biomedical and environmental applications."

The results of this research open a tremendous number of opportunities to expand the diversity of polymers used and the scale of applications, the researchers said. "Currently, we are working with materials on the macro scale - things that we can see and touch," Sing said. "We hope to expand this concept into the realm of nanotechnology, as well."

###

The National Science Foundation and the U. of I. Graduate College supported this research.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Lois E Yoksoulian

217-244-2788

Charles Sing
217-244-6671;


Sarah Perry
413-545-6252

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 Links

The paper "Sequence and entropy-based control of complex coacervates" is available online and from the U. of I. News Bureau. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01249-1E:

Related News Press

News and information

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space May 17th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold May 15th, 2018

Possible Futures

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space May 17th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Nanomedicine

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cells May 15th, 2018

Nanomedicine -- Targeting cancer cells with sugars May 14th, 2018

NanoBio Announces Corporate Name Change to BlueWillow Biologics and Closes $10M Series A Financing: Move Reflects Focus on Advancing Several Intranasal Vaccines to Human Studies May 9th, 2018

Sensors

Strain improves performance of atomically thin semiconductor material May 11th, 2018

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

Doing the nano-shimmy: New device modulates light and amplifies tiny signals April 12th, 2018

Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Detect Molecular Biomarker for Osteoarthritis March 13th, 2018

Discoveries

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Making carbon nanotubes as usable as common plastics: Researchers discover that cresols disperse carbon nanotubes at unprecedentedly high concentrations May 15th, 2018

Materials/Metamaterials

Making carbon nanotubes as usable as common plastics: Researchers discover that cresols disperse carbon nanotubes at unprecedentedly high concentrations May 15th, 2018

Mining for gold with a computer: Texas A&M team gleans new insights on key material May 3rd, 2018

'Exceptional' research points way toward quantum discoveries: Rice University scientists make tunable light-matter couplings in nanotube films April 30th, 2018

The first PE blown films with nanotubes hit the Chinese market April 26th, 2018

Announcements

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space May 17th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

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

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Making carbon nanotubes as usable as common plastics: Researchers discover that cresols disperse carbon nanotubes at unprecedentedly high concentrations May 15th, 2018

Environment

Engineered polymer membranes could be new option for water treatment May 6th, 2018

Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis May 3rd, 2018

'Sweet spot' in sweet material for hydrogen storage: Study IDs 'white graphene' architecture with unprecedented hydrogen storage capacity March 12th, 2018

Converting CO2 into Usable Energy: Scientists show that single nickel atoms are an efficient, cost-effective catalyst for converting carbon dioxide into useful chemicals March 1st, 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