In terms of practical applications, DNA-based molecular electronic devices are expected to be rapid, smaller and more efficient than conventional electronic devices; as well as possessing the ability to self-assemble. On the other hand, the debate surrounding DNA conductivity has led to a conclusion that DNA is a wide-band semiconductor which therefore limits its applicability. However, the charge transfer/transport mechanism of a DNA molecule is still under discussion. Addressing this would be both of interest to academia and of significance for pertinent industrial research and development (R&D) activities.

Engineering conductivity

To realize DNA-based molecular electronics, the researchers develop a novel method of incorporating Au(III) ions into DNA bases to alter the electronic properties. The conductance of the modified DNA nanofibers (diameter: ~25 nm) proportionally increases according to the amount of Au(III) ions incorporated. Several methods of spectroscopy are used in order to understand the relationship between the doped charge carriers and the variation in the helical structure of DNA molecules.

More information can be found in the journal Nanotechnology 25 205701.

Further reading

Ion age transport: Developing devices beyond electronics (Mar 2014)
Tuneable rectifier advances molecular electronics (Dec 2013)