Article | Published:

DNA charge transport over 34 nm

Nature Chemistry volume 3, pages 228233 (2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

Molecular wires show promise in nanoscale electronics, but the synthesis of uniform, long conductive molecules is a significant challenge. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of precise length, by contrast, is synthesized easily, but its conductivity over the distances required for nanoscale devices has not been explored. Here we demonstrate DNA charge transport (CT) over 34 nm in 100-mer monolayers on gold. Multiplexed gold electrodes modified with 100-mer DNA yield sizable electrochemical signals from a distal, covalent Nile Blue redox probe. Significant signal attenuation upon incorporation of a single base-pair mismatch demonstrates that CT is DNA-mediated. Efficient cleavage of these 100-mers by a restriction enzyme indicates that the DNA adopts a native conformation accessible to protein binding. Similar electron-transfer rates measured through 100-mer and 17-mer monolayers are consistent with rate-limiting electron tunnelling through the saturated carbon linker. This DNA-mediated CT distance of 34 nm surpasses that of most reports of molecular wires.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (GM61077). J.D.S. also thanks the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering for a postdoctoral fellowship (F32EB007900). The authors thank J. Genereux, A. Gorodetsky and M. Buzzeo for discussions, and K. Kan for assistance with the fabrication of the silicon chips. This work was completed in part in the Caltech Micro Nano Fabrication Laboratory.

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  1. Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

    • Jason D. Slinker
    • , Natalie B. Muren
    • , Sara E. Renfrew
    •  & Jacqueline K. Barton

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Contributions

J.K.B., J.D.S. and N.B.M. conceived and designed the experiments. J.D.S., N.B.M. and S.E.R. carried out the experiments. J.D.S., N.B.M. and J.K.B. analysed the results and co-wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jacqueline K. Barton.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.982