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The self-assembling properties of the DNA molecule have allowed for the construction of an intriguing range of nanoscale forms. Such nanoarchitectures may eventually find their way into a new generation of microelectronics, semiconductors, biological and chemical sensing devices and a host of biomedical applications. Now Hao Yan and Yan Liu, professors at the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Single Molecule Biophysics and their collaborators have introduced a new method to deterministically and precisely position silver nanoparticles onto self-assembling DNA scaffolds.

In their latest research, the group used a long single-strand of DNA, which had been folded into a triangular building platform through a process known as DNA origami. This architectural foundation was then ‘decorated’ with one, two or three silver nanoparticles, which self-assembled at pre-determined locations on the DNA nanostructure. The group’s experimental results, which appear in the advanced online edition of the journal Angewandte Chemie, demonstrate for the first time the viability of using silver, rather than the gold nanoparticles traditionally applied to DNA-tile or origami based architectures. The study was co-authored by Suchetan Pal, Zhengtao Deng, Baoquan Ding.

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