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Thursday, 13 November, 2008

The molecule factory of the future

Self-assembling synthetic nanostructures

In the cell interior, enzymes spontaneously organise themselves into molecular factories which play a role in processes such as metabolism. Nature achieves this by using the basic principle of molecular self-assembly, which operates at the tiniest level and is extremely efficient. So how about utilising this principle to build our own ‘molecule factories’? A group of scientists in Munich, led by Professor Hermann Gaub, Chair of Applied Physics at Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) München, have taken a crucial step towards this goal. Using an atomic force microscope, they are able to organise molecules into grids in defined structures to within just a few nanometres (millionths of a millimetre) in the laboratory. In a second step, these grids are then used as foundations for complex, self-assembling structures. One advantage of their technique is that it is possible to watch molecular assembly ‘live’, as it happens, allowing errors to be corrected immediately. (...)

 

Complete press release of the LMU

Vollständige Presseinformation der LMU

Publikation: "Nanoparticle Self-Assembly on a DNA-Scaffold Written by Single-Molecule Cut-and-Paste"

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