DNA Nanotechnology

Volume 749 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 13-32


Protocols for Self-Assembly and Imaging of DNA Nanostructures

  • Thomas L. Sobey
  • , Friedrich C. SimmelAffiliated withPhysik Department, Technische Universität München Email author 

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Programed molecular structures allow us to research and make use of physical, chemical, and biological effects at the nanoscale. They are an example of the “bottom-up” approach to nanotechnology, with structures forming through self-assembly. DNA is a particularly useful molecule for this purpose, and some of its advantages include parallel (as opposed to serial) assembly, naturally occurring “tools,” such as enzymes and proteins for making modifications and attachments, and structural dependence on base sequence. This allows us to develop one, two, and three dimensional structures that are interesting for their fundamental physical and chemical behavior, and for potential applications such as biosensors, medical diagnostics, molecular electronics, and efficient light-harvesting systems. We describe five techniques that allow one to assemble and image such structures: concentration measurement by ultraviolet absorption, titration gel electrophoresis, thermal annealing, fluorescence microscopy, and atomic force microscopy in fluids.

Key words

DNA Self-assembly Atomic force microscopy Fluorescence microscopy Nanostructures