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Using DNA to program the self-assembly of colloidal nanoparticles and microparticles

Nature Reviews Materials volume 1, Article number: 16008 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

DNA is not just the stuff of our genetic code; it is also a means to design self-assembling materials. Grafting DNA onto nano- and microparticles can, in principle, ‘program’ them with information that tells them exactly how to self-assemble. Although fully programmable assembly has not yet been realized, the groundwork has been laid: with an understanding of how specific interparticle attractions arise from DNA hybridization, we can now make systems that reliably assemble in and out of equilibrium. We discuss these advances, and the design rules that will allow us to control — and ultimately program — the assembly of new materials.

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Acknowledgements

We thank M. Brenner, D. Frenkel, O. Gang, A. Tkachenko, W. Jacobs, D. Pine, P. Chaikin, J. Crocker and B. Mognetti for discussions and the National Science Foundation for funding through grant no. DMR-1435964.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.

    • W. Benjamin Rogers
    •  & Vinothan N. Manoharan
  2. Martin A. Fisher School of Physics, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02453, USA.

    • W. Benjamin Rogers
  3. Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

    • William M. Shih
  4. Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

    • William M. Shih
  5. Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

    • William M. Shih
  6. Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.

    • Vinothan N. Manoharan

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Correspondence to W. Benjamin Rogers or William M. Shih or Vinothan N. Manoharan.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/natrevmats.2016.8

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