Enzymatically Controlled Vacancies in Nanoparticle Crystals

Stacey N. Barnaby, Michael B. Ross, Ryan V. Thaner, Byeongdu Lee*, George C. Schatz, Chad A. Mirkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In atomic systems, the mixing of metals results in distinct phase behavior that depends on the identity and bonding characteristics of the atoms. In nanoscale systems, the use of oligonucleotides as programmable "bonds" that link nanoparticle "atoms" into superlattices allows for the decoupling of atom identity and bonding. While much research in atomic systems is dedicated to understanding different phase behavior of mixed metals, it is not well understood on the nanoscale how changes in the nanoscale "bond" affect the phase behavior of nanoparticle crystals. In this work, the identity of the atom is kept the same, but the chemical nature of the bond is altered, which is not possible in atomic systems, through the use of DNA and RNA bonding elements. These building blocks assemble into single crystal nanoparticle superlattices with mixed DNA and RNA bonding elements throughout. The nanoparticle crystals can be dynamically changed through the selective and enzymatic hydrolysis of the RNA bonding elements, resulting in superlattices that retain their crystalline structure and habit, while incorporating up to 35% random vacancies generated from the nanoparticles removed. Therefore, the bonding elements of nanoparticle crystals can be enzymatically and selectively addressed without affecting the nature of the atom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5114-5119
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 10 2016


  • RNA
  • Superlattices
  • crystals
  • enzymes
  • nanoparticles
  • vacancies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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