DNA-directed self-assembly of micro- and nano-particles: towards self-replicating materials

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

DNA-directed self-assembly of micro- and nano-particles: towards self-replicating materials

  • Event time: 1:00pm
  • Event date: 18th February 2010
  • Speaker: Mirjam Leunissen (University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

Spontaneous self-organization of matter occurs on many different scales, from atomic nuclei to entire galaxies. In my research, I focus on micrometer-sized 'colloidal' particles, because these can be readily studied with microscopes and because their self-organized structures are useful for applications. It was recently suggested that DNA could form a powerful tool to guide such particles to their designated neighbors, as it allows for very specific and reversible interactions. In this talk, I will go a step further and show how we can use the folding capacity of single-stranded DNA to gain unprecedented kinetic control over the particles' binding strength and association kinetics – somewhat like a nano-contact glue. These investigations are not only of fundamental interest, but serve a bigger goal too: the creation of a new class of materials that have sufficient information encoded in their building blocks to self-assemble and to self-replicate. Such a system would enable the efficient fabrication of large quantities of microstructured materials and could give us valuable insight into the mechanisms of self-organization.

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

Find out more about Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars.