Technique helps viruses serve as structural building blocks

Using a simple, single-step process, engineers and scientists at the University of California at Berkeley recently developed a technique to direct benign, filamentous viruses called M13 phages to serve as structural building blocks for materials with a wide range of properties.

By controlling the physical environment alone, the researchers caused the viruses to self-assemble into hierarchically organized thin-film structures, with complexity that ranged from simple ridges, to wavy, chiral strands, to truly sophisticated patterns of overlapping strings of material–results that may also shed light on the self-assembly of biological tissues in nature.

Each film presented specific properties for bending light, and several films were capable of guiding the growth of cells into structures with precise physical orientations.

More here Viruses coaxed to form synthetics

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