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Stepwise surface encoding for high-throughput assembly of nanoclusters


Self-assembly offers a promising method to organize functional nanoscale objects into two-dimensional (2D) and 3D superstructures for exploiting their collective effects1,2,3. On the other hand, many unique phenomena emerge after arranging a few nanoscale objects into clusters, the so-called artificial molecules4,5,6,7,8,9,10. The strategy of using biomolecular linkers between nanoparticles has proven especially useful for construction of such nanoclusters4,5,6,11,12,13,14,15,16. However, conventional solution-based reactions typically yield a broad population of multimers or isomers of clusters; furthermore, the efficiency of fabrication is often limited4,5,6,11,12,13,14,15,16. Here, we describe a novel high-throughput method for designing and fabricating clusters using DNA-encoded nanoparticles assembled on a solid support in a stepwise manner. This method efficiently imparts particles with anisotropy during their assembly and disassembly at a surface, generating remarkably high yields of well-defined dimer clusters and Janus (two-faced) nanoparticles. The method is scalable and modular, assuring large quantities of clusters of designated sizes and compositions.

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Figure 1: The assembly and encoding steps in fabricating symmetric dimer nanoclusters or asymmetric Janus particles and clusters.
Figure 2: Dimer and Janus morphologies.
Figure 3: Dimer optical characteristics.


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Research was supported by the US DOE Office of Science and Office of Basic Energy Sciences under contract No. DE-AC-02-98CH10866. M.M.M. acknowledges a Goldhaber Distinguished Fellowship at BNL sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.M.M., D.N., D. vdL. and O.G. contributed to the design of the experiment and manuscript preparation. M.M.M. and M.C. carried out the experiments. M.M.M., D.N. and O.G analysed data. O.G. directed the research.

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Correspondence to Mathew M. Maye or Oleg Gang.

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Maye, M., Nykypanchuk, D., Cuisinier, M. et al. Stepwise surface encoding for high-throughput assembly of nanoclusters. Nature Mater 8, 388–391 (2009).

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