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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Jul 26;111(4):048301. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Electrostatically driven interactions between hybrid DNA-carbon nanotubes.

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Department of Physics, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. 20052, USA.


Single-stranded DNA is able to wrap around single-wall carbon nanotubes (CNT) and form stable DNA-CNT hybrids that are highly soluble in solution. Here we report quantitative measurements and analysis of the interactions between DNA-CNT hybrids at low salts. Condensation of DNA-CNT hybrids by neutral osmolytes leads to liquid crystalline phases, and varying the osmotic pressure modulates the interhybrid distance that is determined by x-ray diffraction. Thus obtained force-distance dependencies of DNA-CNT hybrids show a remarkable resemblance to that of double-stranded DNA with differences that can be largely accounted for by their different diameters. This establishes their common physical nature of electrostatically driven interactions. Quantitative modeling further reveals the roles of hydration in mediating the interhybrid forces within the last nanometer of surface separation. This study also suggests the utility of osmotic pressure to control DNA-CNT assemblies at subnanometer precision.

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