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Directed Molecular Assembly Using DNA Origami

Bottom-up self-assembly, over the last couple of decades, has been very actively investigated as a viable approach to realize nanostructures with spatial features and complexity unachievable by conventional top-down nanofabrication. DNA origami stands out amongst the various approaches due to its ability to act as a modular ?molecular breadboards? upon which up to 200 different inorganic and biological elements can be simultaneously assembled at a resolution of 5nm. This particular capability has driven DNA origami to be utilized in research settings for organizing carbon nanotubes, metal nanoparticles and proteins to form electronic/optical circuits, biosensors or multi-enzyme factories. However, since its invention in 2005, no functional device has been realized using this technique partly due to the inability to rationally organize the origami on a surface. This is not a unique shortcoming of DNA origami based devices but one that is suffered by all the bottom-up nanofabricated devices, however a solution based on DNA origami can be generalized due to the modular nature.

In this talk, I will introduce the general field DNA nanotechnology and discuss our efforts to deterministically organize DNA origami on planar surfaces to enable new classes of functional single molecule devices. Our technique is based on electrostatic interaction between DNA origami and chemically patterned surfaces through a process that share similarities with protein folding. We have also developed a simple predictive simulation tool of the underlying assembly process and experimentally demonstrate how this can enable unique capabilities like orienting individual molecules within an absolute global frame of reference by designing DNA origami with appropriate 2D/3D shapes. Lastly, I will talk about our efforts to create single emitter optical devices using our approach for optical computing we well as for high-throughput quantitative study biological networks.

For further information please contact james.liddle [at] (Alex Liddle), 301-975-6050.


james.liddle [at] (Alex Liddle), 301-975-6050

Ashwin Gopinath

California Institute of Technology

Created November 17, 2015, Updated May 13, 2016