The Future Shape of Nano-Technology is in 3D

August 10, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Biomolecular Nanotechnology is advancing at a rapid pace, enabling scientists to program DNA at the molecular level, which may soon shape the future direction of medicine and medical technology. German scientists for the first time, were successful in programming the minuscule building blocks of DNA into curved and twisting 3D shapes, resembling machine parts.

The complex discipline of biomolecular nanotechnology focuses on the use of biomolecules and the concept of biomolecular self-assembly, to develop nanotechnology already existing in living systems.

Scientists from the Laboratory for Biomolecular Nanotechnology, München Technical University in Germany, programmed the building blocks of double-helix DNA strands to assemble themselves into predetermined shapes. Combined with additional tinkering of the DNA strands by altering the lengths and arrangement of the strands, the scientists were able to mold and fold them into curves, resembling the art of origami.

Co-researcher, William Shih of Harvard University explained the process as, DNA bundles floating freely in a solution that adhere to each other and form the pre-programmed structures.

“Sometimes when they bump into each other in the way that we want them to they don’t let go, and through many cycles of this bumping into each other and sticking, eventually we end up with the desired shape – if we’ve programmed the structure of the molecules correctly,” explained Shih.

Previous experiments were only able to produce straight or kinked DNA nano-structures. To achieve a bend in the structures, the scientists added pairs of nucleotides to one side of the DNA structure, while deleting pairs from the other end.

With the additional assistance of a specially designed graphical software tool, the scientists combined the curved sub-units to make complex 3D curved structures, similar to playing with a child’s toy construction set, such as Tinker Toys.

The resulting curved 3D nano-structures consisted of, toothed gears, curved tubes, and a wireframe beach ball that measures five millionths of a centimeter in diameter. The scientists then photographed the DNA nano-structures, using an electron microscope to confirm the DNA bundles formed into the correct shapes.

The scientists believe their research would have future implications as medical tools to repair diseased cells in the human body. The study is available in the latest edition of the journal Science.


Photo Source: Science/AAAS


One Response to “The Future Shape of Nano-Technology is in 3D”

  1. DigitalFeed.Info » Blog Archive » The Future Shape of Nano-Technology is in 3D on August 10th, 2009 6:02 pm

    […] nanotechnology focuses on the use of biomolecules and the concept of biomolecula See more here: The Future Shape of Nano-Technology is in 3D Object August 10th […]

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