SORTING CARBON NANOTUBES BY DNA

 

Xiaomin Tu and Ming Zheng

 

Carbon nanotube is a class of novel material that holds great promise for many fundamental research areas and practical applications.  However, the current synthesis technology produces a mixture of nanotube structures, which obscures nanotube’s true properties and hinders the advancement of nanotube-related studies.  DNA was discovered to form a stable hybrid with nanotube materials and was able to distinguish minute structural difference among nanotubes by chromatography.  The separation outcome seems to be sensitive to the DNA sequence; hence, an effective search strategy was developed that systematically surveys the DNA library. This effort led to the discovery of a set of sequences that are capable of enriching single (n, m) types of carbon nanotubes.  The sequences exhibit interesting purine/pyrimidine patterns, suggesting a possible new structure motif for DNA.