(NASDAQ: SIAL) announced it will host a technical webcast that examines Molecular
Self-Assembly (MSA) technology for nanoscale patterning and for biochip arrays
useful in high throughput medical diagnosis. This live event, titled, 'From
Molecules to Monolayers: Self-Assembly and Analysis, Molecule by Molecule,'
will feature technology-leading experts Professor Paul Weiss, Director of the
California NanoSystems Institute - UCLA and Professor Milan Mrksich, Department
of Chemistry, University of Chicago, Ill., and Investigator at Howard Hughes
The webcast will be held at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, Tuesday, November 17, 2009,
and will be simultaneously broadcast from the campuses of UCLA and Northwestern
University. Technical details and registration are provided at http://sigma-aldrich.com/mswebcast.
MSA is the assembly of molecules without guidance or management from an outside
source. The final desired structure is "encoded" in the shape and
properties of the molecules used and in the order, in which they are introduced,
as compared to traditional techniques, such as lithography, where the desired
final structure is carved out from a larger block of matter. In nature, self-assembly
occurs spontaneously, an example being the self-assembly of the cellular lipid
"By expanding our thinking in terms of molecular components, we have been
able to develop new design rules for self-assembled structures and new ways
of using them," said Professor Paul Weiss. "As a result, it is an
exciting time to be working with these technologies."
Innovative molecules with designed interactions could be used for advanced
patterning applications in hybrid lithographies with functionality to enable
chemical patterning, biofunctionalization and precise three-dimensional nanostructures.
For example, biochips are arrays of self-assembled materials, which allow multiple
medical tests to be performed simultaneously. Simple MSAs are easily assessed
and validated with current experimental techniques making them ideal to analyze
sophisticated biomolecular assemblies. MSA may also prove to be a cost-effective
way to create functional nanodevices such as nanowires, nanotransistors and
nanosensors in large numbers.
"The magical combination of mass spectrometry with self-assembled monolayers
enables label-free assays with biochips, which can be used to profile a broad
range of biochemical activities," said Professor Milan Mrksich.
"Bringing materials science leaders and innovative technologies to the
research community is important to Sigma-Aldrich," said Dr. Kaushik Patel,
Sigma-Aldrich Materials Science Product Manager. "As the dimensions of
designed surfaces become smaller, the challenge of fabricating and measuring
these intricate surfaces increases and new "intelligent" materials
and analysis tools are continually required." New families of molecules
are being developed for self-assembly, continually broadening the application
of these methods.