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From in-silico intuitions to experimental realizations with limited-valence DNA-made nanoparticles

Francesco Sciortino (University "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy)

DNA oligomers can nowadays be assembled to produce a large variety of nanometric constructs, via a cascade of self-assembly processes, each one guided by the length of complementary sequences of distinct DNA strands. In the lecture I will show that it is possible to build bulk quantities of DNA-made nanoparticles that closely match idealized colloids, transferring modern in-paper and in-silico intuitions into experimental realizations. I will show how unconventional collective behaviors, recently explored theoretically and numerically, can indeed be reproduced in the lab. Specifically I will discuss: (i) how to exploit limited valence interactions to suppress phase separation[1,2], enhancing the stability of the equilibrium gel phase [3-5]; (ii) how to exploit competing interactions to generate a material that is fluid both at high and at low temperatures and a solid-like disordered open network structure in between [6-8] and (iii) how to exploit bond-swap dynamics to create an all-DNA vitrimer[9-10].

[1] E. Bianchi, J. Largo, P. Tartaglia, E. Zaccarelli, F. Sciortino Phase diagram of patchy colloids: towards empty liquids, Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 168301, (2006).
[2] F. Sciortino and E. Zaccarelli Reversible gels of patchy particles, Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science 15, 246-253 (2011).
[3] S. Biffi, R. Cerbino, F. Bomboi E. M. Paraboschi, R. Asselta, F. Sciortino and T. Bellini, Phase behavior and critical activated dynamics of limited-valence DNA nanostars, Proc. Nat. Acad. Science, 110 15633-15(2013).
[4] S. Biffi, R. Cerbino, G. Nava, F. Bomboi, F. Sciortino and T. Bellini, Equilibrium gels of low-valence DNA nanostars: a colloidal model for strong glass formers, Soft Matter, 11, 3132 (2015).
[5] F. Bomboi, S. Biffi, R. Cerbino, T. Bellini, F. Bordi, and F. Sciortino, Equilibrium gels of trivalent DNA-nanostars: Effect of the ionic strength on the dynamics, Eur. Phys. J. E 38: 64 (2015).
[6] S. Roldan-Vargas, F. Smallenburg, W. Kob and F. Sciortino, Gelling by heating Scientific Report 3, 2451 (2013).
[7] S. Roldán-Vargas, F. Smallenburg, W. Kob and F. Sciortino, Phase diagram of a reentrant gel of patchy particles, J. Chem. Phys. 139, 244910 (2013);
[8] F. Bomboi, F. Romano, M. Leo, J. Fernandez-Castanon, R. Cerbino, T. Bellini, F. Bordi, P. Filetici & F. Sciortino, Re-entrant DNA gels Nat. Commun. 7, 13191 (2016).
[9] D. Montarnal, M. Capelot, F. Tournilhac, and L. Leibler, Silica-like malleable materials from permanent organic networks, Science 334, 965 (2011).
[10] F. Romano and F. Sciortino, Switching Bonds in a DNA Gel: An All-DNA Vitrimer, Phys. Rev. Letts. 114, 078104 (2015).

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