Of Wrinkles And Wires: Capillarity-Induced Skin Folding Spontaneously Forms Aligned DNA Nanowire, Princeton University Study
Published: Jun 20, 2017
Nanowires fashioned from DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)—one of several type of molecular nanowires incorporating repeating molecular units—are exactly that: Geometrically wire-like DNA-based nanostructures defined variously as having a 1~10 nm (10-9 m) diameter or a length-to-diameter ratio >1000. While nanowires can be made from several organic and inorganic materials, DNA nanowires have been shown to provide a range of valuable applications in programmed self-assembly1,2 of functional materials—including metallic and semiconductor nanowires for use in electronic devices—as well as biological, medical, and genetic analysis applications3,4,5. That being said, DNA nanowire adoption has been limited due to historical limitations in the ability to control their structural parameters—specifically, size, geometry and alignment. Recently, however, scientists at Korea Institute of Science and Technology and Princeton University leveraged the capillary forces of water containing DNA molecules to demonstrate size-controllable straight or undulated aligned DNA nanowires that were spontaneously formed by water entering wrinkled channels of a compressed thin skin on a soft substrate, which subsequently induced a wrinkle-to-fold transition.