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Acc Chem Res. 2014 Jun 17;47(6):1750-8. doi: 10.1021/ar400330y. Epub 2014 May 6.

From nonfinite to finite 1D arrays of origami tiles.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Marshall University , 1 John Marshall Drive, Huntingon, West Virginia 25755, United States.


CONSPECTUS: DNA based nanotechnology provides a basis for high-resolution fabrication of objects almost without physical size limitations. However, the pathway to large-scale production of large objects is currently unclear. Operationally, one method forward is to use high information content, large building blocks, which can be generated with high yield and reproducibility. Although flat DNA origami naturally invites comparison to pixels in zero, one, and two dimensions and voxels in three dimensions and has provided an excellent mechanism for generating blocks of significant size and complexity and a multitude of shapes, the field is young enough that a single "brick" has not become the standard platform used by the majority of researchers in the field. In this Account, we highlight factors we considered that led to our adoption of a cross-shaped, non-space-filling origami species, designed by Dr. Liu of the Seeman laboratory, as the building block ideal for use in the fabrication of finite one-dimensional arrays. Three approaches that can be employed for uniquely coding origami-origami linkages are presented. Such coding not only provides the energetics for tethering the species but also uniquely designates the relative orientation of the origami building blocks. The strength of the coding approach implemented in our laboratory is demonstrated using examples of oligomers ranging from finite multimers composed of four, six, and eight origami structures to semi-infinite polymers (100mers). Two approaches to finite array design and the series of assembly steps that each requires are discussed. The process of AFM observation for array characterization is presented as a critical case study. For these soft species, the array images do not simply present the solution phase geometry projected onto a two-dimensional surface. There are additional perturbations associated with fluidic forces associated with sample preparation. At this time, reconstruction of the "true" or average solution structures for blocks is more readily achieved using computer models than using direct imaging methods. The development of scalable 1D-origami arrays composed of uniquely addressable components is a logical, if not necessary, step in the evolution of higher order fully addressable structures. Our research into the fabrication of arrays has led us to generate a listing of several important areas of future endeavor. Of high importance is the re-enforcement of the mechanical properties of the building blocks and the organization of multiple arrays on a surface of technological importance. While addressing this short list of barriers to progress will prove challenging, coherent development along each of these lines of inquiry will accelerate the appearance of commercial scale molecular manufacturing.

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