Linear Mesostructures in DNA–Nanorod Self-Assembly
Vial, S.; Nykypanchuk, D.; Yager, K.G.; Tkachenko, A.V.; Gang, O. "Linear Mesostructures in DNA–Nanorod Self-Assembly" ACS Nano 2013
We demonstrate the spontaneous formation of one-dimensional mesostructures assembled from rod-like nanoparticles.
The assembly of molecules and nanoscale objects into one-dimensional (1D) structures, such as fibers, tubules, and ribbons, typically results from anisotropic interactions of the constituents. Conversely, we found that a 1D structure can emerge via a very different mechanism, viz, the spontaneous symmetry breaking of underlying interparticle interactions during structure formation. For systems containing DNA-decorated nanoscale rods, this mechanism, driven by flexible DNA chains, results in the formation of 1D ladderlike mesoscale ribbons with a side-by-side rod arrangement. Detailed structural studies using electron microscopy and in situ small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), as well as analysis of assembly kinetics, reveal the role of collective DNA interactions in the formation of the linear structures. Moreover, the reversibility of DNA binding facilitates the development of hierarchical assemblies with time. We also observed similar linear structures of alternating rods and spheres, which implies that the discovered mechanism is generic for nanoscale objects interacting via flexible multiple linkers.