This work examines the selective deposition of metallic and semiconductor materials onto DNA templates for the fabrication of nanodevices. DNA origami provides a simple and robust method for folding DNA into a variety of shapes and patterns and makes it possible to create the complex templates needed for nanodevices, such as nanoelectronic circuits, plasmonics, and nanosensors. Metallization of DNA origami templates is essential for the fabrication of such nanodevices. In addition, selective deposition of semiconductor materials onto the DNA template is of importance for making many nanodevices such as nanocircuits. Metallization of DNA origami presents several challenges beyond those associated with the metallization of other DNA templates such as λ-DNA. All of these challenges were addressed in this study. DNA origami templates were seeded with Ag and then plated with Au via electroless deposition. Selective continuous metal deposition was achieved, with an average metallized height as small as 32 nm. The structure of T-shaped DNA origami was also retained after metallization. Following the metallization of complete origami, site-specific metallization of branched DNA origami was also demonstrated. To achieve this, staple strands at select locations on origami were replaced with staple strands modified with binding sites at the end. These binding sites then attached to thiolated DNA coated Au nanoparticles through base pairing. The continuous Au nanowires formed at designated sites on DNA origami after Au plating had an average width of 33 nm, with the smallest ones ~20 nm wide. The continuity of nanowires was verified by conductivity tests- the only tests of this nature of which I am aware. Moreover, predesigned sites on "circuit-shaped" DNA origami were successfully metallized. The selective deposition of a variety of materials onto DNA templates for the formation of continuous DNA-templated nanowires was also demonstrated. Specifically, an electroless Ni plating solution was developed to enable the fabrication of uniform and continuous DNA-templated Ni nanowires. Tests showed that these DNA-templated Ni nanowires were conductive. Moreover, continuous DNA-templated Bi2Te3 and/or Te nanowires have been fabricated through galvanic displacement of DNA-templated Ni and Cu nanowires. Altogether, these results represent important progress toward the realization of DNA-templated nanofabrication.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





DNA origami, metallization, electroless plating, nanowire, site-specific, nickel, gold, silver, copper, semiconductor, tellurium, bismuth telluride, conductivity test, nanocircuits