X-rays help scientists use synthetic DNA to unlock new species

X-rays help scientists discover new species using synthetic DNA.

The 12-ID beamline was at the APS, where X-ray studies were conducted for this study. Available: Xiaobing Zuo, Argonne National Laboratory

A research team led by Northwestern University and the University of Michigan has developed a new way to assemble fragments into colloidal crystals, a type of material used for chemical and chemical analysis. life and light sensors. Using this technique, the team showed for the first time how these crystals could be processed in unseen ways.

The team used the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a utility room of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, to validate their extensive knowledge.

“A powerful X-ray beam that can reach high resolution measurements is what you need to study this type of association. The APS is a good place to do this research,” said Byeongdu Lee of Argonne National Laboratory. .

“We’ve learned something important about the system for making innovations,” said Chad A. Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. “This design for breaking symmetry rewrites the rules for design and synthesis.”

The research was led by Mirkin and Sharon C. Glotzer, Anthony C. Lembke’s director of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and published in the journal. Natural Things.

Colloidal particles are small particles with other small particles (called nanoparticles) arranged inside them in an ordered or similar manner. They can be designed for applications from light sensors and lasers to speech and arithmetic. For this research, the scientists tried to break down the different shapes, which would arrange the small pieces in different ways.

“You think you’re keeping the cats in a box,” said Argonne’s Byeongdu Lee, a team leader at APS and an author on the paper. “You’re going to have a specific way to work to get the highest value from the space. That’s the way it is.”

However, Lee says that if the balls are melted a certain amount, you can fix them in a different way. The research team, he says, is trying to work with nanomaterials, to teach them to assemble themselves in new ways.

For this research, scientists used DNA, the molecule in cells that carries genetic information. Scientists have learned so much about DNA that it can be trained to follow precise instructions. This research team used DNA to study metal nanoparticles to assemble new structures. The researchers applied DNA molecules to the surface of nanoparticles of various sizes, and observed the movement of small particles around large particles in the spaces between them, while binding together. the pieces to something new.

“The use of large and small nanoparticles, where small particles such as electrons move through a glass of metal atoms, is a very new way of building hard colloidal glass structures, “said Glotzer.

In repairing this DNA, the scientists transformed fragments of electron-equivalent particles, which then transformed them into enduring crystals.

“We looked for hard -hitting buildings that would protect the number of neighbors around each district that had re -created the break -in,” Glotzer said. “Our computer simulations have helped characterize complex patterns and show how the nanoparticles can form them.”

This path set the stage for three new crystalline particles, which had not been fixed before, none of which were actually visible.

“Colloidal particles always have some similarities to the real atomic system,” Lee said. “Now the house that we saw was very new. The way it came together, we didn’t see the metals, the pieces of metal or anything else really coming together. go down this way. ”

“We don’t know the physical properties of the object,” Lee said. “Now we let scientists do this and learn.”

The team used APS’s ultrabright X-ray lights to confirm the new shape of their crystal. They used high-resolution X-ray scanners on the 5-ID and 12-ID beamlines to produce accurate images of the arrangement of the segments they created.

“A powerful X-ray beam that can reach high resolution measurements is what you need to learn this kind of combination,” Lee said. “APS is an ideal place to do this research.”

The APS is making a huge increase, which Lee sees will allow scientists to design complex buildings in the future. The 12-ID instruments are being improved to make better use of the brighter X-ray lights available.

These low -density colloidal crystals have optical characteristics that cannot be obtained with other glass structures or have the use of optical technologies. Their catalytic properties are different. But the new buildings opened here are only the beginning of what can now be understood for the breach of symmetry.

“We’re in the middle of an unknown era of synthesis and discovery,” Mirkin said. “This is a different process than bringing in new materials, not seen from the sketchbook or into applications that can make the most of their rare and common resources.”


The study shows how to break the symmetry in colloidal crystals


More information:
Shunzhi Wang et al, The emission of valency in colloidal crystals through electron -like materials, Natural Things (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41563-021-01170-5

Provided by Argonne National Laboratory

Directions: X-rays helped scientists use synthetic DNA to unlock new species (2022, March 31) Retrieved March 31, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-03 -x-rays-scientists-dna-uncover- material.html

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