. Space Industry and Business News .

Berkeley Lab Scientists Spy Molecular Maneuvers
by Aditi Risbud
Berkeley CA (SPX) Oct 31, 2011

Developers of the SheetRocker, a programmable vial rocking device to enable the self assembly of 2D nanomaterials included (Back, L to R) ) Marika Harada, Romas Kudirka, Andrew Cho, Gloria Olivier; (Front, L to R) Babak Sanii and Ron Zuckermann. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab)

Stir this clear liquid in a glass vial and nothing happens. Shake this liquid, and free-floating sheets of protein-like structures emerge, ready to detect molecules or catalyze a reaction.

This isn't the latest gadget from James Bond's arsenal-rather, the latest research from the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists unveiling how slim sheets of protein-like structures self-assemble.

This "shaken, not stirred" mechanism provides a way to scale up production of these two-dimensional nanosheets for a wide range of applications, such as platforms for sensing, filtration and templating growth of other nanostructures.

"Our findings tell us how to engineer two-dimensional, biomimetic materials with atomic precision in water," said Ron Zuckermann, Director of the Biological Nanostructures Facility at the Molecular Foundry, a DOE nanoscience user facility at Berkeley Lab.

"What's more, we can produce these materials for specific applications, such as a platform for sensing molecules or a membrane for filtration."

Zuckermann, who is also a senior scientist at Berkeley Lab, is a pioneer in the development of peptoids, synthetic polymers that behave like naturally occurring proteins without degrading.

His group previously discovered peptoids capable of self-assembling into nanoscale ropes, sheets and jaws, accelerating mineral growth and serving as a platform for detecting misfolded proteins.

In this latest study, the team employed a Langmuir-Blodgett trough - a bath of water with Teflon-coated paddles at either end - to study how peptoid nanosheets assemble at the surface of the bath, called the air-water interface.

By compressing a single layer of peptoid molecules on the surface of water with these paddles, said Babak Sanii, a post-doctoral researcher working with Zuckermann, "we can squeeze this layer to a critical pressure and watch it collapse into a sheet."

"Knowing the mechanism of sheet formation gives us a set of design rules for making these nanomaterials on a much larger scale," added Sanii.

To study how shaking affected sheet formation, the team developed a new device called the SheetRocker to gently rock a vial of peptoids from upright to horizontal and back again.

This carefully controlled motion allowed the team to precisely control the process of compression on the air-water interface.

"During shaking, the monolayer of peptoids essentially compresses, pushing chains of peptoids together and squeezing them out into a nanosheet. The air-water interface essentially acts as a catalyst for producing nanosheets in 95% yield," added Zuckermann.

"What's more, this process may be general for a wide variety of two-dimensional nanomaterials."

This research is reported in a paper titled, "Shaken, not stirred: Collapsing a peptoid monolayer to produce free-floating, stable nanosheets," appearing in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) and available in JACS online. Co-authoring the paper with Zuckermann and Sanii were Romas Kudirka, Andrew Cho, Neeraja Venkateswaran, Gloria Olivier, Alexander Olson, Helen Tran, Marika Harada and Li Tan.

This work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by DOE's Office of Science and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

The Molecular Foundry is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE's Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories.

Related Links
Berkeley Lab
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Japan, India to accelerate joint rare earth development
Tokyo (AFP) Oct 29, 2011
The foreign ministers of Japan and India agreed Saturday at a meeting in Tokyo to accelerate joint development of rare earth mineral deposits in the South Asian country. Koichiro Gemba and his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna also confirmed they would move forward stalled talks on a civilian nuclear cooperation pact at a joint news conference after their meeting. "The two countries will m ... read more

Berkeley Lab Scientists Spy Molecular Maneuvers

High-quality white light produced by four-color laser source

No hands required as scientists achieve precise control of virtual flight

NSF grant will shine light on ancient copper artifacts, innovation in Alaska

China suspect in US satellite interference: report

Emirates seek French military satellite

First MEADS Battle Manager Begins Integration Testing in the United States

Elbit Establishes Israeli MOD Comms Equipment Supply Upgrade and Maintenance Project

NASA to launch weather-climate satellite Friday

Weather Favorable for NPP Launch

Vega arrives at French Guiana in preparation for its January 26 inaugural launch

SpaceX Completes Key Milestone to Fly Astronauts to International Space Station

Russia to launch four Glonass satellites in November

One Soyuz launcher, two Galileo satellites, three successes for Europe

Soyuz places Galileo satellites in orbit - mission control

GPS shoes for Alzheimer's patients to hit US

OGC Team Produces Winning Single European Sky Aviation Proposal

China Southern Airlines grounds Airbus A380

Japan's ANA net profit up 72.1% in first half

Calif. airship reaches record height

Single photons for optical information transfer

Research Finds Gallium Nitride is Non-Toxic, Biocompatible - Holds Promise For Biomedical Implants

Quantum computer components coalesce to converse

Japan's Renesas mired in red on microchip sales drop

Lockheed Martin Begins GeoEye-2 Satellite Integration

Better use of Global Geospatial Information for Solving Development Challenges

NASA postpones climate satellite launch to Oct 28

NASA Readies New Type of Earth-Observing Satellite for Launch

EU to extend coastal pollution fines to 200 nautical miles

'Historic' deal to halt hazardous waste export to south

Fresh oil pollution reported in Nigerian region

Home washing machines: Source of potentially harmful ocean 'microplastic' pollution


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement