Bio-inspired Polymers as Nano-scale Building Materials

November 11, 2008
Ronald Zuckermann, Ph.D. Facility Director, Biological Nanostructures Facility, The Molecular Foundry, LBNL

ECE Overlap

Devices based on bio-organisms, reprogrammable microbes for technological devices, organic memory devices, organic-inorganic interfaces


Peptoids are a novel class of non-natural biopolymer based on an N-substituted glycine backbone that are ideally suited for nanomaterials research. This bioinspired material has many unique properties that bridge the gap between proteins and bulk polymers. Like proteins, they are a sequence-specific heteropolymer, capable of folding into specific shapes and exhibiting potent biological activities; and like bulk polymers they are chemically and biologically stable and relatively cheap to make. Peptoids are efficiently assembled via automated solid-phase synthesis from hundreds of chemically diverse building blocks allowing the rapid generation of huge combinatorial libraries. This provides a platform to discover nanostructured materials capable of protein-like molecular recognition and function.