Research highlight

Folding and cutting DNA into nanoscale shapes

Nature Nanotechnology

October 4, 2010

The creation of a nanoscale Moebius strip — a ribbon-like structure with only one side — is reported online in Nature Nanotechnology this week. The structure, which could be used to make novel molecular devices, is self-assembled from folded strands of DNA and can be turned into various shapes by cutting along the length of the strip.

A Moebius strip can be made by taking a strip of paper, giving it a half twist and then joining the ends together to form a loop. Hao Yan, Yan Liu and colleagues created a nanoscale version with a previously developed technique known as ‘DNA origami’ — long single strands of DNA are folded into predetermined shapes with the help of shorter ‘stapling’ strands. This revised approach to DNA origami is termed ‘DNA kirigami’ by the authors because of its similarity to the Japanese art of folding and cutting paper. It could be used to assemble unique nanoscale shapes that have different functional materials, such as metal nanoparticles, attached at specific points on the structure.

doi: 10.1038/nnano.2010.193

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