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Understanding and Predicting Self-Assembly
Molecular Foundry staff worked with users to discover a new design rule that controls the way in which polymers adjoin to form the backbones that run the length of biomimetic nanosheets.
Significance and Impact
Understanding the rules that govern self-assembly could be used to piece together complex nanosheet structures and other peptoid assemblies such as nanotubes and crystalline solids.
- Scientists aspire to build nanostructures that mimic the complexity and function of nature’s proteins, but are made of durable and synthetic materials.
- Discovered and created at the Moelcular Foundry, peptoid nanosheets are self-assembled two molecule thick flat structures composed of peptoids, which are synthetic polymers closely related to protein-forming peptides.
- Computer simulations were developed at the Foundry, executed at NERSC, and verified at the ALS.
- The atomic-resolution simulation revealed a geometric motif, which has not been seen in natural materials.
R. V. Mannige, T. K. Haxton, C. Proulx, E. J. Robertson, A. Battigelli, G. L. Butterfoss, R. N. Zuckermann & S. Whitelam. Nature 2015 526, 7573.