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NSF Press Release


NSF PR 04-07 - January 16, 2004

Media contact:

 M. Mitchell Waldrop

 (703) 292- 7752

Nanoscale Building Blocks Form Spheres, Tubes and Curves
Self-assembling structures could find wide use in nanoelectronics and drug delivery

Self-assembly of gold-polymer nanorods results in a curved structure.
Self-assembly of gold-polymer nanorods results in a curved structure.
Credit: Chad Mirkin, Northwestern University
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Inspired by the molecular assembly techniques used in living cells, chemist Chad Mirkin and his colleagues at Northwestern University have created a new class of nanometer-scale building blocks that can spontaneously assemble themselves into ultra-tiny spheres, tubes and curved sheets.

This is the first time that scientists have been able to make structures on this scale that curve in any fashion, as opposed to being straight or flat. Since the Mirkin group can also control the size and curvature of their structures very accurately, the technology could eventually lead to important applications in nanoscale electronics and drug-delivery systems.

Mirkin and his colleagues were supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and are publishing their discovery in the 16 January 2004 issue of the journal Science. A press release detailing their work is available from Northwestern.


Principal Investigator: Chad Mirkin, (847) 722-0634,

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