Selective, controllable, and reversible aggregation of polystyrene latex microspheres via DNA hybridization

Phillip H. Rogers, Eric Michel, Carl A. Bauer, Stephen Vanderet, Daniel Hansen, Bradley K. Roberts, Antoine Calvez, Jackson B. Crews, Kwok O. Lau, Alistair Wood, David J. Pine, Peter V. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The directed three-dimensional self-assembly of microstructures and nanostructures through the selective hybridization of DNA is the focus of great interest toward the fabrication of new materials. Single-stranded DNA is covalently attached to polystyrene latex microspheres. Single-stranded DNA can function as a sequence-selective Velcro by only bonding to another strand of DNA that has a complementary sequence. The attachment of the DNA increases the charge stabilization of the microspheres and allows controllable aggregation of microspheres by hybridization of complementary DNA sequences. In a mixture of microspheres derivatized with different sequences of DNA, microspheres with complementary DNA form aggregates, while microspheres with noncomplementary sequences remain suspended. The process is reversible by heating, with a characteristic "aggregate dissociation temperature" that is predictably dependent on salt concentration, and the evolution of aggregate dissociation with temperature is observed with optical microscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5562-5569
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 7 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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