Sigma Aldrich to Host Keynote Webcast on Molecular Self-Assembly

Sigma-Aldrich (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 Medical Institute.

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 bilayer membrane.

"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.

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