Nanowerk‘s Michael Berger is reporting about the efforts by a group of scientists under Dr. Wonbong Choi at Nanomaterials & Device Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami to study the electrical properties of a DNA molecule, as a potential electrode for nano-based electronics. The scientists created an experimental model composed of a single DNA molecule attached on both sides of the strand to single wall carbon nanotube electrodes. This molecular construct is suspended in a “nanoscale trench” for studies of its conductivity.
The results of several control experiments confirmed that the measured electrical signals indeed originated from the anchored DNA molecules.
One of the potential applications of the present study would be identification of specific genes based on the hybridization-induced change in electrical signal. The researchers explain that their current detection platform could be used in an application for the electrical detection of several other gene sequences on a single chip, although such simultaneous detection of several different gene sequences using an array of nanoelectrodes is a major challenge which currently is under investigation by the research team.
This platform could also be used in fundamental research studies understanding the properties of DNA at single molecular level. The proposed technology has a wide-range application that includes but not limited to revealing the presence of disease related genes, bacterial and viral.