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Ming Zheng (Fed)

Research Chemist

Research Interests

My research area is at the interface of materials and biochemical sciences. We explore interactions between inorganic nanostructures and biomolecules. We exploit such interactions to create new hybrid structures and functions on one hand, and to discover new biomolecular folding patterns on the other. We investigate empirical and computational ways to solve the sequence selection problem.

Our earlier work has led to the finding of a family of molecular structures: DNA- single wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) hybrid (see figure below). SWCNTs are one-dimensional molecules that have the same cylindrical shape but different chiralities. Many fundamental studies and technological applications of SWCNT require a population of tubes with identical chirality that current syntheses can not provide. By selecting out ordered DNA-SWCNT hybrids with specific ssDNA sequences, we are able to sort SWCNTs by their chiralities. SWCNT also provides a unique platform to study nucleic acid folding and other biophysical properties. Potential application of DNA/SWCNT interactions ranges from biosensing to programmable assembly of SWCNTs.



A figure showing the molecular structure of a DNA-wrapped carbon nanotube
A figure showing the molecular structure of a DNA-wrapped carbon nanotube


Our current research covers the following related areas:

1. Structure and function characterization of DNA-SWCNT hybrid, mechanistic understanding of the DNA-based SWCNT sorting method and its further development.

2. Using ordered  DNA-SWCNT hybrids to form senor array for perception-type molecular sensing (Molecular Perceptron).   

3. Exploring chiral sensing and catalysis by chiral forms of SWCNTs. 


Research Opportunities

Those who are interested in our research are encouraged to apply for postdoctoral positions. For U.S. citizens, the National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship with an annual stipend of > $70,000 per year (as of 2020) is available.



Nanotube Metrology Project


A complete list of publications can be found here:


American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow, 1997 – 2000

Chemical Research Council Collaborative Award, 2006

"Nano 50" Inventors Award, 2007

Department of Commerce Silver Medal, 2013



pic for 10,858,256

Redox Sorting of Carbon Nanotubes

NIST Inventors
Angela R. Hight Walker and Ming Zheng
Patent Description The discovery of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) has unveiled the existence of not just one but a family of several hundred stable macromolecules. They are simple in composition and atomic structure—all made of carbon atoms locally bonded in the hexagonal geometry of
Created October 9, 2019, Updated December 8, 2022