Research towards 2D and 3D supramolecular crystal engineering is expected to play a key role in the development of controlled bottom-up fabrication of nanostructured devices. The ability to predict the self-assembly at different length scales, ultimately allowing to attain a full control over the interplay of kinetics and thermodynamics ruling the hierarchical self-assembly in inorganic and biological systems, is a fundamental prerequisite to the progress of the field. SUPRACRYST aims at contributing to the advance of such a central technological field in Europe, and in particular it will focus on the development of new DNA- and nanoparticle-based devices. The final goal will be the controlled engineering of 2D and 3D supramolecular crystals made of inorganic nanoparticles linked through the recognition of DNA single strands. The possibility of interfacing DNA with gold and magnetic nanoparticles, controlling both the geometry and the valence, will be explored. Structural DNA nanotechnology has opened up perspectives for the directed self-assembly of nanoparticles into patterned nanostructures that can lead to promising applications, such as photonic antennas and controlled plasmonic interactions. In this framework, the high-fidelity of DNA pairing code is exploited to program the assembly schemes, and single-stranded DNA (ss-DNA) will be used as couplings arms to steer the assembly of nano-units into functional 2D or 3D assemblies. The formation of ordered and disordered self-assembled condensed phases and their dependence on geometry and valence will be investigated. Controlling the length and flexibility of the binding DNA arms, as well as the architecture of the bonding pattern via the use of spacers and linkers, we aim to manipulate the obtained crystal structures and to tune the characteristic lattice spacing toward arrays of low nanoparticle density.
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