Biointerface research is carried out across literal interfaces between biomolecules and surfaces and across figurative interfaces between physics, chemistry, and biology. For studies of biointerfaces, therefore, a broad range of complementary analytical techniques has to be combined with an experimental methodology that is informed by all the relevant disciplines. For example, while the model system approach inspired by physical and chemical studies is applicable to the investigations of the fundamental properties of biointerfaces, the selection of the appropriate level of reduced complexity for the model systems has to take into account the intrinsic complexity and properties of the respective biological systems. The hierarchical nature of most biological systems and materials suggests the use of correspondingly hierarchical models and designs for biointerfaces and bioinspired materials. For example, model DNA and peptide biointerfaces can be prepared on model surfaces using biomolecules that exhibit systematically increasing chemical, physical, and structural complexity. Similarly, opportunities for developing materials with unique and novel properties are provided by the controlled and hierarchical self-assembly of functional nanoscale subunits, whereby multifunctionality, sensing, actuation, and other useful properties can be achieved by combining the appropriate functional subunits in controlled structures or distributions.
Group manager Dmitri Petrovykh