Multilayer DNA/Poly(allylamine hydrochloride) Microcapsules: Assembly and Mechanical Properties

Olga I. Vinogradova, Olga V. Lebedeva, Krasimir Vasilev, Haofei Gong, Javier Garcia-Turiel, Byoung Suhk Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


We report the preparation, characterization, and mechanical properties of DNA/poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) multilayer microcapsules. The DNA/PAH multilayers were first constructed on a planar support to examine their layer-by-layer buildup. Surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy (SPR) showed a nonlinear growth of the assembly upon each bilayer deposited independently on a concentration of salt. A weak increase in the film thickness with the DNA concentration was, however, detected. A post-treatment of the multilayers in the salt solutions has shown a thinning of the film. The optimal conditions of the planar film growth were used to deposit the same multilayers on the surface of colloidal templates and to study their roughness and morphology with the atomic force microscope (AFM) imaging. When an outer layer is formed by DNA, we observe large domains of oriented parallel DNA loops, while an outer layer formed by PAH shows highly porous morphology. The dissolution of colloidal templates led to a formation of highly porous DNA/PAH microcapsules. We probe their mechanical properties by measuring force-deformation curves with the AFM-related setup. The experiment suggests that the DNA/PAH capsules are softer than capsules made from the flexible polyelectrolytes studied before. The softening is due to both higher permeability and smaller Young's modulus of the shell material. The Young's modulus of the DNA/PAH shells increases after post-treatment in salt solutions of relatively low concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1495-1502
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005
Externally publishedYes


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