Special Issue "Nanomechanics: From Theory to Application"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanoelectronics, Nanosensors and Devices".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marina Inés Giannotti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Biomedical Research Networking Center on Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN), Madrid, Spain
2. Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya (IBEC), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Barcelona, Spain
3. Department of Materials and Physical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Barcelona, Spain
Interests: nanomechanics; biophysics; lipid membranes; single molecules; force spectroscopy; atomic force microscopy
Dr. Lorena Redondo-Morata
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille, INSERM U1019, CNRS UMR 8204, F-59000 Lille, France
Interests: biophysics; membrane remodeling; lipid membranes; nanomechanics; membrane dynamics; atomic force microscopy; high-speed force spectroscopy; force spectroscopy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nanomechanics is an area of nanoscience that studies fundamental mechanical properties of physical systems at the nanoscale. Nanomechanics has developed at the intersection of classical mechanics, statistical mechanics, and quantum chemistry, and the overlapping of solid-state physics, biophysics, and materials science.

In nature, all key steps involve mechanical movement at the molecular level, and, moreover, the macroscopic properties of polymeric materials are closely related to the molecular composition, structure, conformation, and interactions at this level.

Nanomechanical studies of single macromolecules contribute to the comprehension of fundamental aspects concerning their structural, mechanical, and binding properties. Understanding the elastic behavior, or deformation, of individual macromolecules is an essential issue in both biophysics and materials science. Viscoelastic relaxation provides polymers and thin films with time-dependent properties necessary for energy dissipation and frequency-dependent stiffening or reswelling, among others. The forces that hold molecules together in supramolecular structures are generally weak intermolecular forces or interactions. Such interactions play a relevant role in the physical properties and function of nanostructures and biological entities.

The development of experimental nanoscale and single-molecule manipulation methods has allowed for the tracking of individual species and the precise application and measurement of minute forces, opening new perspectives in life sciences as well as in materials science. This has particular importance in areas where temporal and spatial averaging is to be avoided, mechanical forces need to be measured, and individual species are to be tracked. Among them, the most common are the mechanical transducers, such as microneedles and atomic force microscopy-based force spectroscopy (AFM-FS), and the external field manipulators, such as hydrodynamic flow and magnetic or optical traps (magnetic or optical tweezers), which have permitted studies on the role of the mechanosensitive proteins and lipids in membranes, protein folding or DNA mechanics, the elasticity of macromolecules, the mechanical work generated by molecular motors, and cell and tissue mechanics.

This Special Issue of Nanomaterials, entitled “Nanomechanics: From Theory to Application”, will cover the aforementioned advances, comprising both theoretical and experimental findings in different areas from nanostructures and materials to biological entities.

Dr. Marina Inés Giannotti
Dr. Lorena Redondo-Morata
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nanomaterials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nanomechanics
  • single molecules
  • forces
  • polymers
  • macromolecules
  • thin films
  • biophysics
  • force spectroscopy
  • AFM
  • optical tweezers.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Asymmetric Lipid Transfer between Zwitterionic Vesicles by Nanoviscosity Measurements
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(5), 1087; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11051087 - 22 Apr 2021
Viewed by 969
Abstract
The interest in nano-sized lipid vesicles in nano-biotechnology relies on their use as mimics for endosomes, exosomes, and nanocarriers for drug delivery. The interactions between nanoscale size lipid vesicles and cell membranes involve spontaneous interbilayer lipid transfer by several mechanisms, such as monomer [...] Read more.
The interest in nano-sized lipid vesicles in nano-biotechnology relies on their use as mimics for endosomes, exosomes, and nanocarriers for drug delivery. The interactions between nanoscale size lipid vesicles and cell membranes involve spontaneous interbilayer lipid transfer by several mechanisms, such as monomer transfer or hemifusion. Experimental approaches toward monitoring lipid transfer between nanoscale-sized vesicles typically consist of transfer assays by fluorescence microscopy requiring the use of labels or calorimetric measurements, which in turn require a large amount of sample. Here, the capability of a label-free surface-sensitive method, quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D), was used to monitor lipid transfer kinetics at minimal concentrations and to elucidate how lipid physicochemical properties influence the nature of the transfer mechanism and dictate its dynamics. By studying time-dependent phase transitions obtained from nanoviscosity measurements, the transfer rates (unidirectional or bidirectional) between two vesicle populations consisting of lipids with the same head group and differing alkyl chain length can be estimated. Lipid transfer is asymmetric and unidirectional from shorter-chain lipid donor vesicles to longer-chain lipid acceptor vesicles. The transfer is dramatically reduced when the vesicle populations are incubated at temperatures below the melting of one of the vesicle populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanics: From Theory to Application)
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Article
Development of Polythiourethane/ZnO-Based Anti-Fouling Materials and Evaluation of the Adhesion of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida glabrata Using Single-Cell Force Spectroscopy
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(2), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11020271 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
The attachment of bacteria and other microbes to natural and artificial surfaces leads to the development of biofilms, which can further cause nosocomial infections. Thus, an important field of research is the development of new materials capable of preventing the initial adhesion of [...] Read more.
The attachment of bacteria and other microbes to natural and artificial surfaces leads to the development of biofilms, which can further cause nosocomial infections. Thus, an important field of research is the development of new materials capable of preventing the initial adhesion of pathogenic microorganisms. In this work, novel polymer/particle composite materials, based on a polythiourethane (PTU) matrix and either spherical (s-ZnO) or tetrapodal (t-ZnO) shaped ZnO fillers, were developed and characterized with respect to their mechanical, chemical and surface properties. To then evaluate their potential as anti-fouling surfaces, the adhesion of two different pathogenic microorganism species, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida glabrata, was studied using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Our results show that the adhesion of both S. aureus and C. glabrata to PTU and PTU/ZnO is decreased compared to a model surface polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). It was furthermore found that the amount of both s-ZnO and t-ZnO filler had a direct influence on the adhesion of S. aureus, as increasing amounts of ZnO particles resulted in reduced adhesion of the cells. For both microorganisms, material composites with 5 wt.% of t-ZnO particles showed the greatest potential for anti-fouling with significantly decreased adhesion of cells. Altogether, both pathogens exhibit a reduced capacity to adhere to the newly developed nanomaterials used in this study, thus showing their potential for bio-medical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanics: From Theory to Application)
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Review

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Review
Protein Hydrogels: The Swiss Army Knife for Enhanced Mechanical and Bioactive Properties of Biomaterials
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(7), 1656; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11071656 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1197
Abstract
Biomaterials are dynamic tools with many applications: from the primitive use of bone and wood in the replacement of lost limbs and body parts, to the refined involvement of smart and responsive biomaterials in modern medicine and biomedical sciences. Hydrogels constitute a subtype [...] Read more.
Biomaterials are dynamic tools with many applications: from the primitive use of bone and wood in the replacement of lost limbs and body parts, to the refined involvement of smart and responsive biomaterials in modern medicine and biomedical sciences. Hydrogels constitute a subtype of biomaterials built from water-swollen polymer networks. Their large water content and soft mechanical properties are highly similar to most biological tissues, making them ideal for tissue engineering and biomedical applications. The mechanical properties of hydrogels and their modulation have attracted a lot of attention from the field of mechanobiology. Protein-based hydrogels are becoming increasingly attractive due to their endless design options and array of functionalities, as well as their responsiveness to stimuli. Furthermore, just like the extracellular matrix, they are inherently viscoelastic in part due to mechanical unfolding/refolding transitions of folded protein domains. This review summarizes different natural and engineered protein hydrogels focusing on different strategies followed to modulate their mechanical properties. Applications of mechanically tunable protein-based hydrogels in drug delivery, tissue engineering and mechanobiology are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanics: From Theory to Application)
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