DNA is model for self-assembling nanostructures

April 18, 2001 | Source: KurzweilAI

Purdue University researchers are using the same principle that makes DNA strands link together to create tiny structures that may someday be used to develop nanostructures with specific dimensions and chemical properties.

“We have perfect control over every part of the system,” says Hicham Fenniri, an assistant professor of chemistry who directed the effort. “We not only dictate how the molecule behaves, but we also can control the dimensions and chemical properties of the resulting nanotube.”

Prof. Fenniri uses a scanning probe
microscope to study structural
features of self-assembled nanotube

Fenniri and his group borrowed chemistry from DNA to create a series of molecules that are “programmed” to link in groups of six to form tiny rosette-shaped rings. Numerous rosettes then combine to form tiny, rod-like structures, or nanotubes.