Sunney Chan Lecture
2015 Sunney Chan Lecture

2015.11.4, Wednesday, 10:00 am

  (Venue: Ta-shue Chou Lecture Hall, Institute of Chemistry, Academia Sinica)
Online Registration

The Nature of the DNA Bond

Nature has developed highly specific and precise interactions that can be used to generate hierarchical materials with well-defined functions and properties. The sequence-specific nature of nucleic acid interactions is one such example, and synthetic versions of nucleic acids provide tremendous opportunities in many areas when used as functional components in materials design. In particular, our group has shown that when nucleic acids are densely functionalized on the surface of a nanoparticle in a highly oriented fashion, they can be used to reliably control the spacing and symmetry of the assembled nanoparticles. In this way, nucleic acid-functionalized nanoparticles can be used as “programmable atom equivalents (PAEs)” – the nanoparticle represents the “atom” and imparts upon the conjugate structure chemical and physical properties that depend on the composition, size, and shape of the nanoparticle core, and the nucleic acids represent the tunable “bonds” that can be used to link the particles. The ability to decouple the properties of the building block from how it assembles has thus far enabled the crystallization of nanoparticles into over 30 unique symmetries with over an order of magnitude of control in the lattice parameters. Further, single-crystalline superlattices with well-defined, equilibrium crystal habits have been synthesized. This unprecedented power to control the arrangement of nanomaterials has enabled the fundamental study of atomic crystallization and nanoscale energy transfer, and these superlattice systems have already shown promise in plasmonic, photonic, and catalytic applications.


Prof. Chad A. Mirkin Prof. Chad A. Mirkin
Department of Chemistry and International Institute for Nanotechnology, Northwestern University, USA

D r. Chad A. Mirkin is the Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Prof. of Chemistry, Prof. of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Prof. of Biomedical Engineering, Prof. of Materials Science & Engineering, and Prof. of Medicine at Northwestern University. He is a chemist and a world renowned nanoscience expert, who is known for his discovery and development of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) and SNA-based biodetection and therapeutic schemes, the invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN) and related cantilever-free nanopatterning methodologies, On-Wire Lithography (OWL), Co-axial Lithography (COAL), and contributions to supramolecular chemistry and nanoparticle synthesis. He is the author of over 600 manuscripts and over 900 patent applications worldwide (262 issued), and the founder of multiple companies, including Nanosphere, Inc., AuraSense, LLC, and Exicure, Inc., which are commercializing nanotechnology applications in the life science industry.

Dr. Mirkin has been recognized for his accomplishments with over 100 national and international awards. He is a Member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (Obama Administration), and the only chemist to be elected to all three US National Academies (Inst. of Medicine, Natl. Academy of Sci., and Natl. Academy of Engin.). He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Materials Research Society. Dr. Mirkin has served on the Editorial Advisory Boards of over 20 scholarly journals, and at present, he is an Associate Editor of JACS. He is the founding editor of the journal Small, one of the premier international nanotechnology journals, and he has co-edited three best-selling books.

Dr. Mirkin holds a B.S. degree from Dickinson College (1986, elected into Phi Beta Kappa) and a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the Penn. State Univ. (1989). He was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT prior to becoming a professor at Northwestern Univ. in 1991.


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