Graduate Student, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
"Nano-Micro Building Blocks"
Nanomaterials are playing an increasingly important role in engineering and medicine. To better understand and design these tiny materials, researchers strive to assemble predictable nanoparticle crystals of a regular shape and size, which are easier to measure, simulate, and control.
This image shows such crystals (in blue and bronze), which are rhombic dodecahedra, meaning they have 12 congruent rhombic sides.
To make the crystals, Ku and her colleagues in the
Mirkin Laboratory attach complementary DNA strands to gold nanoparticles. The DNA strands bind together, guiding the gold nanoparticles into blob-like formations. The blobs are then cooled to below their melting temperature, causing them to crystallize into these more stable shapes.
Technique: Scanning electron microscopy, false coloring