Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


DNA as Future Electronic Components

Conducting nanostructures based on metallized DNA

Our electronic devices are getting smaller and smaller while doing more and more. Using conventional materials, we will soon reach the practical limit. The electronics of tomorrow require alternatives, such as nanowires made of DNA that can serve as conductive paths and nanotransistors for miniature circuits. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, German scientists have now described a new method for the production of stable, conducting DNA nanowires.

DNA is more than a carrier of genetic information; it is also an interesting building material for nanotechnology. This is because of its extraordinary self-organizational properties. DNA is thus often used as a “mold” for the production of nanoscale structures. Its use in the assembly of electronic circuits is hampered by the fact that DNA is a very poor conductor of electricity. One way to get around this is by depositing metal onto the DNA strands.

Scientists at the RWTH Aachen and the University of Munich have now developed a new strategy for the controlled production and metallization of DNA nanostructures. Led by Ulrich Simon, the team used a DNA strand consisting of an immobilization sequence and a metallization sequence. Several such strands are strung together so that the resulting DNA is made of alternating sequences.

The immobilization sequence contains alkyne groups. These allow the DNA to be snapped into place on a silicon wafer coated with azide groups in what is known as a “click” reaction. The other DNA segment has two tasks: it is equipped with functional groups that cause the aggregation of silver particles and can also attach DNA strands to each other.

The DNA strands are stretched, deposited onto the wafers, and attached by the “click” reaction. During the subsequent metallization with silver particles, neighboring strands are simultaneously cross-linked to form multistrands. These have significantly higher structural stability than single strands. In the future, this method could also be used to integrate the DNA strands into programmable DNA architectures to allow for the positioning and binding of complex structures on prestructured substrates.

Deposition of the silver particles does not complete the metallization process. In a second step, which resembles the development of photographs, gold from a solution can be deposited onto the silver particles. Changing the duration of the gold deposition process allows for variation of the diameter of the resulting nanowires.

This new method allowed the scientists to obtain micrometer-long, electrically contactable nanowires that have potential for development into further miniaturized circuits.

About the Author
Ulrich Simon holds the Chair of Inorganic Chemistry and Electrochemistry at RWTH Aachen University and is member of the Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance (JARA). His research interests include the synthesis, the assembly, and the electrical properties of nanoscaled materials, as well as their application in nanoelectronics and biomedicine.
Author: Ulrich Simon, RWTH Aachen University (Germany),
Title: Surface "Click" Reaction of DNA followed by Directed Metalization for the Construction of Contactable Conducting Nanostructures

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article:

Ulrich Simon | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>