Nanoparticles meet their sticky ends

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Science  05 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6273, pp. 561-562
DOI: 10.1126/science.aae0455

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The first studies showing that DNA could be grafted onto the surfaces of metal nanoparticles (NPs) (1, 2) provided a glimpse into the potential of using genetic material to program NP assembly. With major advances in DNA nanotechnology (3, 4) in the subsequent years, researchers have just begun to harness the molecular and nanoscale precision that DNA offers in the construction of ordered three-dimensional (3D) NP superlattices. In this issue, two studies show how hierarchically structured DNA imparts valency and symmetry to spherical gold NPs that are otherwise chemically and geometrically isotropic. On page 582, Liu et al. (5) demonstrate the rational assembly of NPs into diamond and diamond-family superlattices using DNA origami linkers. On page 579, Kim et al. (6) demonstrate how DNA hairpins serve as addressable NP linkers that can be activated or deactivated with chemical precision.