DNA Micropatch Helps Pattern Gold Nanorods

By controlling the orientation of DNA chains on a surface, scientists in South Korea can in turn manipulate gold nanorods to create surfaces with unique optical and electronic properties.

AsianScientist (Jul. 30, 2019) – A team of scientists in South Korea have developed a technique to fabricate a DNA micropatch that an be used in the creation of plasmonic devices. Their findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

DNA is one of the most abundant biomaterials found in all living organisms in nature. It has unique characteristics such as fine feature size and a liquid crystalline phase which makes it suitable as a building block for fabricating three-dimensional (3D) structures.

In the present study, researchers led by Professors Yoon Dong Ki and Kim Hyungsoo at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, used used cheap DNA material extracted from salmon to create well-aligned knit-like or ice cream cone shapes on a surface.

When DNA in an aqueous solution is rubbed between two solid substrates while water is evaporating, DNA chains become unidirectionally aligned, resulting in a thin film. The DNA chains can be made to take on more complex microstructures when the same procedure is carried out in the presence of microposts that control the directionality of the DNA chains. When mixed with other structural components such as gold nanorods, the micropatch could be useful for the creation of plasmonic devices.

Plasmon resonance is a phenomenon in which electrons vibrate uniformly on the surface of a substrate made of metal, reacting only to light that matches a specific energy to enhance the clarity and expression of colors. For this, the most important factor is the orientation in which the gold nanorods align. That is, when the rods are aligned side by side in one direction, the optical and electrical characteristics are maximized. The research team thus used the DNA micropatch as a frame to orient the gold nanorods in a unique shape in the fabrication of a plasmonic color film.

Yoon noted that the patterning of DNA under evaporation conditions is still not well understood. Hence, this study not only sheds light on the phenomenon, but also demonstrates a useful application of the technique.

“[Our findings] will also help maximize the efficiency of polymeric materials that can be orientated in coating, 2D, and 3D printing applications. Furthermore, DNA that exists infinitely in nature can be expected to have industrial application value as a new material, since it can easily form complexes with other materials as described in this study,” Yoon said.

The article can be found at: Cha et al. (2019) Microstructure Arrays of DNA Using Topographic Control.


Source: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

Related Stories from Asian Scientist