Viruses are significantly more rigid than expected and one virus in particular, Wiseana iridovirus, is stiffer than such hard plastics as polystyrene and poly(methyl methacrylate), a shatterproof, acrylic glass replacement. That discovery was made by a U.S. research team led by Dr. Alexei Sokolov, the Thomas A. Knowles Professor of Polymer Science at The University of Akron.
Dr. Alexei Sokolov, the Thomas A. Knowles Professor of Polymer Science at The University of Akron, led a research team that discovered that viruses are far more rigid than first throught, making them meaningful in the creation of nanotemplates and other nanoscale structures
In their exploration of possible applications of viruses in nanotechnology, photonics and electronics, Sokolov and his team discovered that viruses are not only incredibly strong, but are mechanically coupled, making them meaningful in the creation of nanotemplates and other nanoscale structures
"The enormous rigidity of viruses stems from their DNA. That characteristic, combined with their uniformity in size, chemistry and physical properties, makes them ideal for many nanotechnology applications, such as photonics and nano-electronics," Sokolov says.
Sokolov and his team made the observations as they studied the Wiseana iridovirus using Brillouin light scattering. With this technique they were able to measure the virus' vibration frequencies, which they used to determine its rigidity.
Unlike polymeric colloids, which don't show inter-particle mechanical coupling, virus particles couple perfectly and securely, making them ideal building blocks for nanostructure formation and templates, Sokolov says.
"Dr. Sokolov's unique findings could lead to tremendous advancements in polymer engineering," says Dr. Stephen Cheng, dean of the UA College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. "His breakthrough research exemplifies the caliber of work for which UA has been known across the globe."
Sokolov's research team included:
Nanotechweb.org reported on the team's findings this month. To view the article, visit http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/tech/36218.