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SELF-ASSEMBLING SYNTHETIC TENTACLES
Joanna Aizenberg laboratory
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

A major goal of synthetic biology is to engineer unnatural molecules and compounds into systems and tools that mimic those found in biology.

Pictured here are self-assembling synthetic nanofibers in capture-and-release devices that look strikingly like tiny fingers (or tentacles).

Image: Scanning electron micrograph of nanoscale bristles holding onto a sphere.

  • The bristles are made of epoxy resin and then immersed into a liquid.
  • As they dry, they grab whatever is nearby, such as a drug or small nanoparticles.
  • The bristles store energy and thus, can be made to release the item.
  • Each bristle here is ~1/1000th the width of a human hair.

SOURCE: Cell

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