Molecular engineering of chiral colloidal liquid crystals using DNA origami
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Combining DNA origami technology with colloidal science could lead to new materials with unique optical properties.
Researchers at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, and colleagues in the US, used folded DNA filaments in suspension to assemble ribbons, two-dimensional membranes, and liquid crystals with helical structures. A DNA double helix is formed by compounds in each strand binding with a complementary compound in the other strand. This makes single DNA strands a useful scaffold for holding molecules in place and for constructing materials from the bottom up.
So far, organizing these structures into macroscopic materials has been challenging. By treating the DNA filaments as colloids in suspension, the team was able to combine methods of two scientific fields to construct fine-tunable shapes whose properties can be measured.
Their method could be extended to assemble origami-based plasmonic materials that might have interesting photonic properties related to the detection, generation and manipulation of light.
- Nature Materials 16, 849–856 (2017). doi: 10.1038/NMAT4909
|Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany
|Brandeis University, United States of America (USA)