Researchers Create a Material with the Highest Strength to Weight Ratio Ever Achieved Using Nanoscale DNA Lattices Coated in Silica

by Science Writer Kim Woolcock

Materials that are both strong and lightweight have myriad applications, from more energy-efficient electric cars to better medical devices. Researchers at the Department of Energy Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia University, and University of Connecticut have created a material that is four times stronger and five times lighter than steel using self-assembling DNA nanolattices thinly coated in silica. The material owes its strength to nano-level details: perfect placement of lattice elements and the strength of ultra-thin films of silica. The DNA templating method could be adapted to make lattices of various shapes coated with various materials. The open-access paper “High-Strength, Lightweight Nano-Architected Silica” was published in Cell Reports Physical Science on July 19, 2023.

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