Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Self-aligning DNA wires for application in nanoelectronics

Date:
January 30, 2014
Source:
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Summary:
Since miniaturization in microelectronics is starting to reach physical limits, researchers seek new methods for device fabrication. One candidate is DNA origami in which strands of the biomolecule self-assemble into arbitrarily shaped nanostructures. The formation of entire circuits, however, requires the controlled positioning of these DNA structures on a surface -- which is only possible using elaborate techniques. Researchers have come up with a simpler strategy which combines DNA origami with self-organized pattern formation.

What looks like sand dunes is actually smaller than a single grain of sand. Thanks to electrostatic surface interactions, DNA nanotubes (shown here in red) align along the prefabricated nanopattern on a silicon surface.
Credit: Image courtesy of Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

Since continuous miniaturization in microelectronics is already starting to reach the physical limits, researchers are seeking new methods for device fabrication. One promising candidate is the DNA origami technique in which individual strands of the biomolecule self-assemble into arbitrarily shaped nanostructures. The formation of entire circuits, however, requires the controlled positioning of these DNA structures on a surface -- something which previously has only been possible using very elaborate techniques. Now, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have come up with a simpler strategy which combines DNA origami with self-organized pattern formation.

Related Articles


Dr. Adrian Keller of the HZDR Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research describes the new method: "Its beauty lies with the fact that we're allowing nature to simply run its course as soon as we've created the necessary framework." In the DNA origami technique, the DNA structures self-assemble as long strands of the biomolecule fold into complex, predefined nanoscale shapes by pairing with multiple smaller DNA strands. The physicists used the technique to produce small tubes with lengths of 412 nanometers and diameters of six nanometers. These structures can be used as scaffolds for manufacturing nanoelectronic components like nanowires.

In order to align these nanotubes on the surface, the researchers drew on a principle of self-organization that is actually quite common in nature. Wind may for instance form ordered patterns on a sandy beach. "Similar processes are at work here," explains Keller. "We irradiate the surface onto which we want to place the nanostructures -- in our case, the silicon wafers -- with ions. This results in the spontaneous appearance of ordered nanopatterns resembling miniature sand dunes. At that point, our job is pretty much done as natural processes are taking over and doing all the work."

Through electrostatic interactions between the charged DNA nanostructures and the charged surface, the nanotubes align themselves in the valleys of the dunes. Says Keller: "This technique works so well that not only do the small tubes follow the wavy patterns, they even replicate occasional pattern defects. Meaning this technique should also allow for production of curved nanocomponents." The maximum degree of alignment the Dresden researchers were able to obtain was at a pattern wavelength of 30 nanometers. "True, we're only looking at a total yield of 70 percent of nanotubes that perfectly follow the pattern," concedes Keller. "But it's still impressive considering the natural process we used."

Because unlike previous approaches, according to Keller, the new technique is quick, cheap, and simple. "Until now, we had to draw on lithographic techniques plus treat the surface with chemicals in order to align the DNA nanostructures. Although this does produce the desired outcome, it nonetheless complicates the processes. Our new technique offers a much simpler alternative." Since aligning the small tubes is based exclusively on electrostatic interaction with the prestructured surface, using this particular method the nanotubes could also be arranged into more complex arrays such as electronic circuits. Keller is convinced that they can be attached to individual transistors, for instance, and connect them electrically: "This way, DNA based nanocomponents could be integrated into technological devices and contribute to further miniaturization."

Developing electronic circuits based on such self-organization principles is the subject of research at the HZDR-coordinated International Helmholtz Research School NanoNet. The international Ph.D. program trains junior scientists in molecular electronics as part of DRESDEN-concept -- an alliance between the HZDR, the TU Dresden, and several partners from science. The focus of the program is on techniques which functionalize atoms, molecules, and artificial nanostructures to enable information exchange among them and eventually build electronic building blocks like a transistor. The long term vision of this scientific approach is the development of components that spontaneously assemble into electronic circuits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bezuayehu Teshome, Stefan Facsko, Adrian Keller. Topography-controlled alignment of DNA origami nanotubes on nanopatterned surfaces. Nanoscale, 2014; 6 (3): 1790 DOI: 10.1039/C3NR04627C

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. "Self-aligning DNA wires for application in nanoelectronics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130102036.htm>.
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. (2014, January 30). Self-aligning DNA wires for application in nanoelectronics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130102036.htm
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. "Self-aligning DNA wires for application in nanoelectronics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130102036.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins