Micro & Nanoelectronics

From Molecules to Monolayers: Self-Assembly and Analysis, Molecule by Molecule

Inaugural Live Webcast Event -

“From Molecules to Monolayers: Self-Assembly and Analysis, Molecule by Molecule”

Professor Paul Weiss

Director of California NanoSystems Institute
Professor - Chemistry and Biochemistry - University of California, Los Angeles

"Self and Directed Assembly of Single Molecule Environments"


We place single molecules and larger groups into precisely controlled environments on surfaces. The monolayer matrices and the inserted molecules can be designed so as to interact directly, to give stability or other properties to supramolecular assemblies. New families of molecules are being developed to yield even greater control and are enabling determination of the key design parameters of both the molecules and assemblies. This in turn is enabling controlled chemical patterning from the sub-nanometer to the centimeter scales. At the same time, a suite of tools is being developed to give unprecedented information on the structures and properties of these assemblies.

Professor Milan Mrksich

Investigator – Howard Hughes Medical Institute - Chicago, IL
Professor - Chemistry - University of Chicago, IL

"Using Self-Assembled Monolayers and Mass Spectrometry for BioChip Applications"


Biochips are prepared by applying an array of proteins, peptides, carbohydrates or other molecules to a flat substrate. They are used to profile enzyme specificities, profile cellular lysates for enzymatic activities, perform high throughput screening, and other applications. Yet, challenges in immobilizing biomolecules in a functional state and in developing label-based formats to assay biochemical chemical activities still limit the use of these tools. This talk will describe an approach for using mass spectrometry to analyze biochips—including enzyme-mediated reactions of immobilized biomolecules and protein-protein interactions. The method is based on self-assembled monolayers of alkanethiolates on gold that present proteins and small molecules with control over the densities, patterns and orientations of these species. The chips are compatible with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry and therefore do not require fluorescent or radioisotopic labels for analysis. This technique, termed SAMDI MS, can efficiently monitor a broad class of enzyme activities—including kinase, protease, methyltransferase and carbohydrate-directed modifications—and can detect proteins having molecular weights up to 100 kD. The talk will describe examples that use peptide arrays to characterize enzyme function.

View a recording of our inagural live Self-Assembly Webcast event

To learn more about self-assembly technology and materials, please visit sigma-aldrich.com/selfassembly