Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

5-2012

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering

Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Major Advisor

William L. Hughes, Ph.D.

Abstract

Two challenges encountered in nanotechnology are the ability to create nanostructures inexpensively and the ability to arrange nanomaterials with a precision commensurate with their size. In nature, nanostructures are created using a bottom-up approach, whereby molecules hierarchically self-assemble into larger systems. Similarly, structural DNA nanotechnology harnesses the programmability, specificity, and structural integrity of DNA to engineer synthetic, self-assembled materials. For example, during scaffolded DNA origami, a long single stranded DNA polymer is artificially folded into nanostructures using short oligonucleotides. Once folded, two- and three-dimensional nanostructures may be decorated with proteins, metallic nanoparticles, and semiconductor quantum dots. Using gold nanoparticles and semiconductor quantum dots, scaffolded DNA origami was explored for future nanoelectronic and nanophotonic applications. Nanostructure design, synthesis, and characterization focused on increasing the site-specificity and attachment efficiency between nanoparticle arrays and the DNA origami scaffold. Results have established improved design rules to fabricate future devices.

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