2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2007 - 10th Annual

Bio-Inspired Membranes from Polymers and Biological Motifs

C. Dittrich, D. de Bruyn, T. Schuster and W. Meier
University of Basel, CH

proteins, polymers, self assembly, bio-materials, membranes, soft nanotechnology

Cells as functional units from algae to mammals demonstrate the most remarkable degree of self organisation. Processes like membrane formation, protein folding and signal cascades excel in selectivity and control. Nanotechnology is often inspired by biological properties but, despite nature’s seductive elegance and putative simplicity, often fails at prediction of complex self-assembly. Even weak forces, multiplied by the large number of subunits, contribute to the assemblies and frequently lead to unforeseen results. There is a rising interest in vesicular self-assemblies to exploit the functionality of such separated compartments, and the number of potential applications increased with complexity of the membrane material. Controlled variation of structure and dimension in supramolecular assemblies is a desirable feature for medical and technical applications. From lipids to polymers to the incorporation of proteins: today we are able to tailor membrane properties desirable for many purposes. Even though the biological function of proteins and peptides must be considered exemplar for the discipline of self-assembly, it is a challenge to control their intermolecular interactions apart from their biological task. Membrane formation of peptides is difficult to establish mainly due to the hydrophilic contribution of every single amino acid’s backbone. In this work we present novel, functional materials and molecular systems based on amphiphilic block copolymers and –peptides. Entirely peptidic membranes allow for example a precise engineering of their physical properties and can be used to prepare well-defined vesicular structures with high a degree of ‘intra-membrane’’ order and defined porosity. .

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Nanotech 2007 Conference Program Abstract


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