You are here

Geek-Up[6.17.2011]: Metallic Glass and 3D Plasmon Rulers

June 17, 2011 - 5:41pm

Addthis

Check out a short animation of a 3D plasmon ruler as it delivers optical information about the structural dynamics of an attached protein and read more below.

SLAC scientist Wendy Mao, Qiaoshi (Charles) Zeng, and their colleagues were not expecting to find a hidden property of glass. They were using Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source to squeeze samples of metallic glass between the tips of two diamonds – applying 250,000 bars of pressure to test how materials behave in extreme conditions.
 
Instead, they got a surprise: the metallic glass atoms lined up in a regular pattern to form a single crystal. By definition, glass is amorphous –its atoms lack order and arranged every which way.
 
This discovery offers new insight into the atomic structure and behavior of metallic glasses, which are in products such as anti-theft tags and power transformers. The more scientists learn about the structure of these materials, the more effectively they can design new metallic glasses and improve the performance of current ones.
 
Check out more on this surprising find here.
 



Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Stuttgart, Germany have developed the world’s first 3D plasmon ruler, capable of measuring nanometer-scale spatial changes in macromolecular systems.
 
The ruler could help provide scientists with unprecedented details into a variety of biological events, including the interaction between DNA and enzymes, protein folding and cell membrane vibrations.
 
Plasmons – electronic surface waves which are generated when light travels through the confined dimensions of noble metal nanoparticles or structures, such as gold or silver – offer exceptional photostability and brightness compared to other types of molecular rulers that might blink or photobleach.
 
Check out a short animation of a 3D plasmon ruler (above) as it delivers optical information about the structural dynamics of an attached protein. The ruler’s five nanorods enable it to measure the direction as well as the magnitude of the structural changes.

Also, read more on the first 3D plasmon ruler here.

 

Addthis