Scientists fabricate 2 D nanosheets decorated with DNA for nanotechnology applications

Researchers from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh have developed a novel method to synthesize 2 dimensional nanosheets decorated with DNA molecule. The design strategy allows for an ultra dense array of DNA molecules to be grown on 2 D crystalline nanosheets.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is made of a long chain of repeating monomer units called nucleotides and is the primary carrier of genetic information in organisms. DNA forms the basis for all of life, driving growth, development and reproduction of all living organisms. In recent years, the emergence of nanotechnology has diversified the uses for DNA, including non-biological applications. The information rich molecule has been used for data storage, computing, crystallography, molecular scale electronics and many more. DNA molecules have the potential to store up to 5.5 petabytes (1 petabyte= 1 quadrillion bytes) of data in each cubic millimetre of the DNA molecule, making it the most compact and efficient data storage device ever developed.

Designing a nanosheet with the surface decorated with DNA could have potential applications in materials science, drug delivery, and nanoelectronics. However, fabricating such a nanosheet has been a challenge. “Design and synthesis of high aspect ratio 2D nanosheets with surface having ultradense array of information-rich molecule such as DNA is extremely challenging” remark the authors.

In the new study, the researchers have made use of amphiphilic (a molecule with both, hydrophilic and hydrophobic parts) properties of molecules to drive the self assembly of high aspect ratio 2D nanosheets densely decorated with DNA. Microscopy and X-ray analyses have revealed the crystalline nature of the sheets, and the ultradense forests of DNA molecules on the sheets. The researchers also demonstrated DNA- directed surface addressability by decorating either sides of the sheet with gold nanoparticles, using sequence specific DNA hybridization. The surface addressability allows for better manipulation and modification of the DNA decorated sheets.

“Our results suggest that this design strategy can be applied as a general approach for the synthesis of DNA decorated high aspect ratio sheets, which may find potential applications in materials science, drug delivery, and nanoelectronics” conclude the researchers about the novel design approach.