Materials Science

DNA Makes a Move

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Science  03 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5642, pp. 19
DOI: 10.1126/science.302.5642.19c

Because of the specificity of its base pairing, DNA is being tested as a central component in the design of nanomechanical devices. Yan et al. have designed a DNA nanoactuator that can reversibly expand and contract a two-dimensional (2D) array of DNA strands.

The authors first devised a nanoactuator that has two states. The first state consists of four DNA strands forming a bulged three-arm DNA branch junction with a loop sticking out in the center. Addition of an appropriate “fuel strand” that is complementary to the loop sequence stretches the structure into the linear second state. The nanoactuator is then incorporated into a 2D DNA lattice. The cavities in the 2D lattice can then be switched reversibly from 14 nm × 14 nm to 14 nm × 20 nm, without deterioration of the lattice. This nanoscale motion may be helpful in the assembly of future nanoelectronic devices. — JFU

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 42, 4342 (2003).

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