Scientists combine synthetic and biological nanoparticles to produce new metamaterials
Aalto University scientists have organized synthetic and biological building blocks in a single structure - combining virus particles (and other protein cages) with inorganic nanoparticles to form crystalline layer structures, or superlattices.
The research aims to develop hierarchically structured nanomaterials with tunable optical, magnetic, electronic and catalytic properties. Such nanomaterials are important for applications in sensing, optics, electronics and drug delivery.
By generating biohybrid 3D superlattices of nanoparticles and proteins, "the versatility of synthetic nanoparticles and the highly controlled assembly properties of biomolecules can be combined," explains Dr Mauri Kostiainen of Aalto University Department of Applied Physics, who led the research.
"Binary nanoparticle lattices have received so much attention because they can provide a way to prepare multifunctional metamaterials - periodic artificial materials not found in nature. In them, new properties arise from collective behaviour," explains Kostiainen.
For example, they showed that virus or ferritin protein cages can be used to guide the assembly of RNA molecules or iron oxide nanoparticles into superlattices, formed through tunable electrostatic interactions with charged gold nanoparticles.
"The gold nanoparticles and viruses adopt a special kind of crystal structure that doesn’t correspond to any known atomic or molecular crystal structure and it has previously not been observed with nano-sized particles," said Kostiainen.
In bringing these kind of new materials to fruition, scientists turn the usually unwanted properties of viruses into something very useful, by employing the unique capability of highly controlled self-assembly of the virus particles.
"Aalto University-led research group shows that CCMV virus or ferritin protein cages can be used to guide the assembly of RNA molecules or iron oxide nanoparticles into three-dimensional binary superlattices. The lattices are formed through tuneable electrostatic interactions with charged gold nanoparticles."
Military Says No Presidential Authorization Needed To Quell “Civil Disturbances” 2013 05 17 A recent Department of Defense instruction alters the US code applying to the military’s involvement in domestic law enforcement by allowing US troops to quell “civil disturbances” domestically without any Presidential authorization, greasing the skids for a de facto military coup in America along with the wholesale abolition of Posse Comitatus.
The instruction (embedded at the end of this article), which ...
Ancient Maya Pyramid Destroyed in Belize 2013 05 17 An archaeological group says it plans to take legal action.
Despite its small size, the Caribbean country of Belize is known for a few outstanding characteristics: a spectacular barrier reef, a teeming rain forest, and extensive Maya ruins.
It now has one fewer of those ruins.
A construction company in Belize has been scooping stone out of the major pyramid at the site ...
Ginger: A Warming Herb 2013 05 17
Ginger is an Asian herb that is particularly well known to us in the West. Over time, and with trial and error, its stimulating properties and piquant flavor have been integrated into both our herbal “materia medica” and cuisine.
Brewed as an herbal tea, ginger root is particularly helpful for those people who have underactive stomachs and difficulty producing adequate amounts ...
Australian man dead for 40 minutes revived with new CPR machine 2013 05 17 In an Australian first, doctors have used a new resuscitation technique to revive three patients who were clinically dead for up to an hour.
One of the lucky survivors was Colin Fiedler, 49, who was pronounced dead at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria, after suffering a heart attack, The Herald Sun reported.
Doctors brought Fieldler back to life using a U.S.-made ...
How a pregnancy test for humans caused a wave of global extinctions 2013 05 17
The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been wiping out amphibian species across the globe for decades. But how did this global environmental disaster get started? A new study suggests that it came from doctors importing frogs for use in pregnancy tests.
Since the 1980s, amphibian species have experienced a sharp decline in their numbers. Some estimates suggest that 400 or more ...