Modification of material surfaces
Biophysics and soft matter physics
The Design of DNA Frames by DNA Origami Technology
Keywords: DNA, Nanotechnology, DNA origami
Recommendation: This project will focus on the hottest topic in the field of DNA
Nanotechnology: DNA origami. This is a project designed for students who have background in chemistry and biology. This project is recommended for any students who are interested in the DNA nanotechnology.
Deoxyribonucleic acid ( DNA) is a long polymer made from repeating units called nucleotides. DNA is the most important materials in living organisms for carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction. In living organisms, DNA usually exist as a pair of molecules that are held together by the hybridization of base pairs, so called double stand DNA. In addition to their essential functions in biology, DNA is also very attractive for materials scientists and engineers due to their unique properties. In recent years, significant progresses have been achieved in the field of DNA nanotechnology. Among them, the most notable advance is the development of DNA origami, which is a process of molecular self-folding of a long single-stranded DNA into prescribed objects (or DNA frames) by hundreds of short DNA oligonucleotides. With the help of computer, arbitrary shape of DNA frame can be designed and then experimentally realized in the laboratory. These DNA origamis are very useful for many applications including DNA robots, enzyme immobilization and drug carry capsules and so on.
The goal of this project is to ensure students have a good understanding in DNA origami, to be familiar with related DNA nanotechnology. Students will be taught the basic principle of DNA folding and how to design and characterize DNA frame with different shape. In the meantime, students will be provided with the data regarding the characterization of DNA frame. In addition, student will be encouraged to further assemble designed DNA frames into hierarchically complex structures. Students will finally be guided to write a report regarding the design of DNA frames by DNA origami.
Polymer Self-assembly toward Nano-coins
Keywords: polymer, self-assembly, mimicking nature
Recommendation: This project will focus on an attractive topic in the field of materials science: polymer self-assembly. This is a project designed for students who have background in polymer and materials science. This project is recommended for any students who are interested in polymer and polymer self-assembly.
Self-assembly is a process in which a disordered system of pre-existing components forms an organized structure as a consequence of specific, local interactions among the components themselves, without external driving force. When the constitutive components are polymers, the process is termed polymer self-assembly. The self-assembly of polymer is critically important is because the properties of polymer materials are intimately related to their hierarchically assembled structures. To develop the polymer materials with better properties, it is necessary to understand how to design polymers and how to self-assemble them into designed structures. Self-assembly is ubiquitous in nature from cell membrane to complex living organism. Using polymer to mimic the self-assembly process in nature and develop advanced materials is one of the hottest and most promising topics in the materials science.
In this project, we will focus on the fabrication of two dimensional “nano-coins” by polymer self-assembly, mimicking the thylakoid of chloroplast in nature. The goal of this project is to ensure students have a good understanding on polymer self-assembly. Students will be taught the basic principle in polymer self-assembly and how to design polymer and characterize polymer self-assembled structures. In the meantime, students will be provided with the data regarding the characterization of polymer self-assembled structures. Students will finally be guided to write a report regarding the self-assembly of two-dimensional “nano-coins”.