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Chemphyschem. 2017 Dec 6;18(23):3437-3442. doi: 10.1002/cphc.201700844. Epub 2017 Oct 30.

Controlling Non-Equilibrium Structure Formation on the Nanoscale.

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Lehrstuhl für Zellbiophysik E27, Technische Universität München, James-Franck-Straße 1, 85748, Garching, Germany.
Chair for Photonics and Optoelectronics, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Amalienstr. 54, 80799, München, Germany.


Controlling the structure formation of gold nanoparticle aggregates is a promising approach towards novel applications in many fields, ranging from (bio)sensing to (bio)imaging to medical diagnostics and therapeutics. To steer structure formation, the DNA-DNA interactions of DNA strands that are coated on the surface of the particles have become a valuable tool to achieve precise control over the interparticle potentials. In equilibrium approaches, this technique is commonly used to study particle crystallization and ligand binding. However, regulating the structural growth processes from the nano- to the micro- and mesoscale remains elusive. Here, we show that the non-equilibrium structure formation of gold nanoparticles can be stirred in a binary heterocoagulation process to generate nanoparticle clusters of different sizes. The gold nanoparticles are coated with sticky single stranded DNA and mixed at different stoichiometries and sizes. This not only allows for structural control but also yields access to the optical properties of the nanoparticle suspensions. As a result, we were able to reliably control the kinetic structure formation process to produce cluster sizes between tens of nanometers up to micrometers. Consequently, the intricate optical properties of the gold nanoparticles could be utilized to control the maximum of the nanoparticle suspension extinction spectra between 525 nm and 600 nm.


gold nanoparticles; non-equilibrium; plasmonics; self-assembly; structure formation

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