Antibody-inspired “molecular Velcro” designed at Berkeley Lab could lead to a new class of biosensors. Researchers took cues from the architecture of a natural antibody (left) in designing a new material that resembles tiny sheets of Velcro (right).
Long organic molecules called peptoids self-assemble into a molecular film on the surface of a water solution. As this film gets folded into a nanosheet, segments of the peptoid get pushed out into loops, which eventually decorate the surface of the nanosheet.
The research team, from left: Ron Zuckermann, Michael Connolly, and Gloria Olivier, standing next to their custom peptoid-making robot, RONDA.