Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have developed a nanoplasmonic system of DNA bundles that are opened and closed by light or optical signals, paving the way for nanomachines that could one day perform precision works in the human body and in medical labs - published in the journal Nature Communications.
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To control such nanomachine when it is ultimately developed, researchers made the scissors-like nanoplasmonic system which uses UV light to open and visible light to close up again. There are gold particles placed within the structures to help scientists observe structural changes as they occur.
Having understood that plants and animals store vital genetic information in their DNA, nanotechnologists explore the elastic structures of the DNA to create components of other machines. The best way to construct a complete nanomachine is for scientists to first design and create subunits of the machine step by step.
The scissors-like one made by Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems researchers with colleagues from Japan and the USA has two DNA bundles connected by a hinge.
“Each bundle is only 80 nanometres long and each consists of 14 strands of coiled up DNA lying parallel to each other,” the researchers wrote. “Initially, the motion of the scissor-like nanostructure is blocked by a type of chemical padlock made of azobenzenes, which can be opened by UV light.”
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“We have succeeded for the first time in controlling a nanoplasmonic system with light. And this was precisely our motivation,” said Laura Na Liu, leader of the Research Group. “As the angle between the two DNA bundles can be controlled, it offers the possibility to change the relative position of nanoparticles in space.”