Single-celled architects inspire new nanotechnology

(Arizona State University) ASU professor Hao Yan and his colleagues have designed a range of nanostructures resembling marine diatoms — tiny unicellular creatures. To achieve this, they borrow techniques used by naturally-occurring diatoms to deposit layers of silica — the primary constituent in glass — in order to grow their intricate shells. Using a technique known as DNA origami, the group designed nanoscale platforms of various shapes to which particles of silica, drawn by electrical charge, could stick.