Apr 25, 2014
Towards DNA electronics: gold improves conductivity
The realization of DNA molecular electronics has been eagerly anticipated by scientists. Research into DNA conductivity has received increased interest in recent years due to the potential applications of DNA in nanotechnology, and nanoelectronics in particular. An important hurdle to overcome is the improvement of the electrical conductivity of DNA through chemical modification. Reporting in Nanotechnology, a novel method of engineering DNA conductivity through the incorporation of Au(III) ions into DNA bases is presented.
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.
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.
About the author
Young-Wan Kwon is a research professor at KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology, Korea University. With a background in polymer chemistry, his current research interests focus on the material science (magnetic, electrical, electronic and optical properties) of DNA, liquid crystal, liquid crystalline polymer, organic materials and polymeric materials. Jung-Il Jin is the distinguished professor of the same affiliation.