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GOLEM — Result In Brief

Project ID: 33211
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Netherlands

Nanotechnology mimicking biology

The strength of intermolecular bonding encountered in biological systems is a desirable feature for the assembly of nanostructures. A European initiative tested various mechanisms for the interaction of micro- and nanomaterials.
Nanotechnology mimicking biology
Since the advent of nanotechnology, our knowledge on synthesising nanostructures at the molecular level has rapidly progressed. However, apart from the formation of buckyballs and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), our current understanding on how to interface and assemble parts from different materials is still limited. To address this issue, the EU-funded project ‘Bio-inspired Assembly Process for Micro- and Nano- Products’ (GOLEM) used an approach based on bio-inspired events to assemble parts at the micro- and nanoscale.

Project partners investigated and modelled various mechanisms inspired by biological systems such as the avidin/streptavidin protein interaction, DNA and polymers with hydrogen bonds. The consortium used beads of various diameters and tested their bonding efficiency to demonstrate the attachment of beads with a diameter of up to 10 microns.

at the same time, the methods of manipulating these components were optimised. More specifically, a fluidic assembly chamber was devised to manipulate components using droplets, a laser beam or the process of dielectrophoresis. An important outcome of the GOLEM project was the efficient manipulation of complex shapes such as cuboids using a principle based on laser-induced Marangoni flow. Finally, project partners developed an apparatus based on mobile micro-robots to characterise and manipulate assembled components in terms of bonding strength.

overall, the GOLEM project demonstrated the feasibility of using biologically based binding to assemble micro- and nanomaterials. Apart from providing invaluable insight into novel mechanisms for nanostructure manufacturing, commercialization of the project innovations will advance the field of nanotechnology.

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