Linker-mediated self-assembly of mobile DNA-coated colloids

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Science Advances  20 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 21, eaaz6921
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz6921


Developing construction methods of materials tailored for given applications with absolute control over building block placement poses an immense challenge. DNA-coated colloids offer the possibility of realising programmable self-assembly, which, in principle, can assemble almost any structure in equilibrium, but remains challenging experimentally. Here, we propose an innovative system of linker-mediated mobile DNA-coated colloids (mDNACCs), in which mDNACCs are bridged by the free DNA linkers in solution, whose two single-stranded DNA tails can bind with specific single-stranded DNA receptors of complementary sequence coated on colloids. We formulate a mean-field theory efficiently calculating the effective interaction between mDNACCs, where the entropy of DNA linkers plays a nontrivial role. Particularly, when the binding between free DNA linkers in solution and the corresponding receptors on mDNACCs is strong, the linker-mediated colloidal interaction is determined by the linker entropy depending on the linker concentration.

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