DNA is a fascinating soft material that naturally expresses two of the three main features required from molecular nanoelectronic components, namely recognition and specific structuring (sequence, length). The third additional property that is needed in order to implement DNA-derivatives for electrical device applications is conductivity, still quite disputable in native-DNA. The proposing team recently developed novel DNA-based nanowires, evolved from modifications of the native double helix that show encouraging conductivity signals while preserving the structuring and recognition qualities. We now plan to proceed to the more ambitious goal of realizing DNA-based nanodevices on the ground of the disclosed nanowires, by maturing to a full control over the molecular structure and electric response. Our strategy is to use specific alterations of the sequence and inclusions of hybrid inorganic elements to pre-planned locations in the wire.
A device resulting from this approach will be nanometric in size and embedded in the wire itself. We expect to realize a device-wire with a controlled non-linear response (bi-stability or negative differential resistance) in the end of the project. The envisaged devices enclose the seeds to bloom into self-assembled hybrid nano-sized computational networks, connected to the outside world (e.g., metal electrodes) through DNA recognition, and providing rich truth tables on a tiny scale: these are among the top-ranked objectives of the IST program.
The high risk implicit in advancing a new multidisciplinary concept for hybrid nanoelectronics with DNA hetero-polymers is compensated by the huge technological potential of the eventual products, and by the recognized scientific excellence of the proposing team, particularly on the basis of its already existing achievemnts. The success of the project should be measured in terms of generated cutting edge knowledge, and foundations for long-term industrial impact.
Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project