We have discovered a new type of interaction between micro- or nanoscale particles that results from the entanglement of strands attached to their surfaces. Self-complementary DNA single strands on a particle can hybridize to form loops. A similar proximal particle can have its loops catenate with those of the first. Unlike conventional thermodynamic interparticle interactions, the catenation interaction is strongly history and protocol dependent, allowing for nonequilibrium particle assembly. The interactions can be controlled by an interesting combination of forces, temperature, light sensitive cross-linking and enzymatic unwinding of the topological links. This novel topological interaction may lead to new materials and phenomena such as particles strung on necklaces, confined motions on designed contours and surfaces, and colloidal Olympic gels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)