Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

8-2011

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Major Advisor

William B. Knowlton, Ph.D.

Abstract

In the field of DNA nanotechnology, self-assembly is being advanced as the key technology for the creation of nanoscale structures. Popular and effective DNA nanotechnology methods of producing nanoscale structures are branched DNA junctions and DNA origami. DNA nanostructures have recently been employed as scaffolds for the bottom-up arrangement of proteins, as well as semiconductor and metallic nanoparticles, with nanometer precision. Such structures are expected to exhibit unique optical properties and may enable new photonic devices. Conversely, the majority of photonic devices for optical waveguide are fabricated using top-down processes. However, the cost and controllability of complex nanostructures using top-down processes imposes significant challenges. As an alternative to top-down processes, work will be presented demonstrating the use of DNA self-assembly processes to fabricate nanoscale photonic devices for optical waveguide. To fabricate photonic devices using DNA self-assembly, DNA nanostructures were used as scaffolds to configure light emitting molecules so as to create a near-field energy transfer waveguide. Spectrophotometry was used to characterize the device operation. The spectral results indicate that DNA nanostructures functionalized with light emitting molecules can transfer energy through a three molecule system with 28% efficiency, demonstrating the potential of using DNA nanostructures for future photonic devices for optical waveguide.

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