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Nanodevices From "Sticky" DNA
Cross-shaped blocks of DNA with "sticky ends" can lock together to form large ribbons or grids for the fabrication of nanodevices, according to a new report in the 26 September 2003 issue of the journal Science.
Hao Yan and others designed the blocks to assemble into tiny protein detectors and conducting silver nanowires. The blocks are made from nine segments of single-stranded DNA and are easily tailored through small changes to the DNA sequences.
To create the protein detectors, the researchers added biotin to the central DNA strand, which provided docking sites for molecules of the protein streptavidin. The protein molecules formed regularly spaced arrays that were easily visualized and could be measured.
Yan's group also designed some DNA pieces to assemble into nanoribbons, which served as templates for the deposition of silver to form highly conductive, uniform-width nanowires. The DNA building blocks can easily be programmed to form more sophisticated patterns for other applications, say the authors.
30 September 2003