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'Sticky' DNA crystals promise new way to process information

Imagine information stored on something only a hundredth the size of the next generation computer chip–and made from nature’s own storage molecule, DNA. A team led by Richard Kiehl, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, has used the selective “stickiness” of DNA to construct a scaffolding for closely spaced nanoparticles that could exchange information on a scale of only 10 angstroms (an angstrom is one 10-billionth of a meter). The technique allows the assembly of components on a much smaller scale and with much greater precision than is possible with current manufacturing methods, Kiehl said. The work is published in a recent issue of the Journal of Nanoparticle Research.

Novel Method for Assembly of Nanoparticles

New York engineers have developed a novel method for assembling nanoparticles into three-dimensional structures that one day may be used to produce new nanoscale tools and machines. The work could be an important step in fulfilling the immense potential of nanotechnology because it gives scientists and engineers improved control and flexibility in the creation of materials for the manufacture of many nanoscale devices. The researchers used non-uniform AC electric fields generated by microfabricated electrodes — which create a motion known as dielectrophoresis — to stack latex, silica or graphite microparticles into two- and three-dimensional structures of prescribed lengths and composition, held together by the electrical field.