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MINT — Result In Brief

Project ID: IST-2001-32152
Funded under: FP5-IST

Molecular-based nanotechnology

Focusing on microelectronics manufacturing methods for producing nanodevices on the molecular scale, the MINT project developed a new method for nanoparticle functionalisation of RNA.
Molecular-based nanotechnology
The emerging nanotechnology electronic devices have brought significant changes in all aspects of personal, social and business life. One of the primary concerns is the delivery of devices featuring at least the same level of interconnection of components as in microelectronics. To answer this need, the MINT project investigated the formation of Ribo-Nucleic Acid (RNA) structures interlinking and multiplication to be used to position electronic materials for devices.

More specifically, the project aimed at new oligo-RNA designs to form tessellated (tecto-RNA) multimers for defining structured nano-scale features. Additionally, methods for immobilisation of large tecto-RNA structures to substrates and for transferring the nano-scale RNA templates to pattern and interconnect electronic materials and/or metals were also developed. By employing suitable techniques of intercalation or chelating of nano-particles, RNA multimers were functionally activated.

One of the key project accomplishments was a newly developed method for attaching gold nano-particles of 15 or 30nm sizes to self-assembling RNA molecules. This highly reliable method was based on a procedure of attaching short Oligo-Deoxy Nucleotides (ODNs), complementary to single-stranded regions of the RNA motifs. This procedure allows up to 75 RNA molecules to be attached to a 15nm gold particle, while the number of RNA molecules per particle can be reduced in a controllable way.

For demonstration purposes, association of small and large particles was accomplished with each particle carrying a specific partner of a Mg2+-dependent, RNA tetraloop-receptor interaction. These interactions were employed to position gold particles between two modified electrodes. The method was proven to have increased potential for generating nanoscale wires in a controlled and predictable fashion.

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