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CeNS Colloquium

Place: Kleiner Physik-Hörsaal, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz
Date: 14.01.11, Time: 15:30 h

Creating peptoid nanosheets by buckling a self-assembled monolayer

Dr. Babak Sanii
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Molecular Foundry


Peptoids are synthetic analogs of natural peptides that can be designed to have comparable structures and functions as proteins but with much greater resiliency. We have designed peptoid polymers that self-assemble into free-floating nanosheets as large as millimeters long yet only 2.7nm thick, that can survive boiling temperatures, deep vacuums, pH extremes and biological environments. We robotically synthesize peptoids from commercial reagents and we can readily tailor biological recognition motifs into them.

I will particularly focus on our physical mechanism for producing peptoid nanosheets, which is analogous to the cycle of a thermodynamic pump. Peptoids from the solution self-assemble at the air-water interface, and an applied mechanical compression of the monolayer generates sheets by buckling. After expansion, peptoids from the solution regenerate the interface and the cycle is repeated. We can apply this unusual nanomaterial formation mechanism to a family of molecules to produce planar, molecularly thin nanosheets with custom-tailored properties.