Theses Doctoral

Directed Biomolecular Assembly of Functional Nanodevices

Penzo, Erika

One of the objectives of nanotechnology is to develop ways to build functional nanoscale devices from nanostructures. Whether these nanodevices will constitute the basis for new technologies rests on the ability to precisely manipulate the nanostructures in such a way that large numbers of functional devices can be built in parallel, with each nanodevice precisely located and addressed.
In this work nanostructures dispersed in solution are organized onto surfaces by means of molecular-scale directed assembly. This technique combines top down high resolution lithographic patterning to bottom up self-assembly: specific molecular interactions take place at locations precisely defined by lithography, resulting in the parallel assembly of an arbitrarily large number of devices into complex and precisely ordered arrangements. While different molecules are used in this study, DNA plays a key role throughout the work due to the specificity of its interactions, its programmability and outstanding chemical flexibility.
Two approaches are developed to direct the assembly of nanostructures on a surface. The first involves the patterning and selective functionalization of metallic nanodots that are used as anchors for the attachment of DNA molecules, proteins, DNA nanostructures and single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) segments wrapped by DNA. Different strategies are explored to maximize the yield of the desired assembly. This platform also allows the monitoring of DNA-protein interactions with single molecule resolution, which has many potential biomedical applications. In the second approach, lithographic patterning is used to define regions of high surface energy that promote the binding of DNA origami and SWCNT segments. The high patterning resolution again allows for single nanostructure manipulation. This method facilitates the assembly of SWCNT field effect transistors from DNA-wrapped SWCNT segments.
The formation of multi-component nano-objects in solution, by directing the linkage of properly functionalized nanostructures, is also studied. The products of these reactions are suitable for surface placement with the developed directed assembly techniques, thereby resulting in a hierarchical directed assembly process. Among others, the synthesis of SWCNT-dsDNA heterostructures is described. These hybrid objects can be used to electrically probe dsDNA using the SWCNTs as electrodes, by assembling solid state devices by means of the directed assembly methods, and also by conductive AFM. The results of some electrical measurements of double stranded DNA are discussed.
The techniques developed in this thesis are directly applicable to fundamental studies of electron transport in molecules and other nanostructures, but they also have utility in other fields, such as chemistry and biology, where single molecule resolution is required. In addition, the approaches developed in this work may facilitate the advancement of new electronics technologies, including, but not limited to, future circuits based on single-wall carbon nanotubes with specific electronic properties.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Thesis Advisors
Wind, Shalom J.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 30, 2014