The challenge of structural control on the nanoscale: Bottom-up self-assembly of nucleic acids in 3D

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Control of the structure of matter has been a major challenge to humankind throughout its entire history. The finer the features that we are able to engineer, the greater is the level of control that we have. Here, we summarise progress made in the bottom-up control of structure that is based on the self assembly of nucleic acids. Nucleic acids are unique among molecular systems in that their intermolecular interactions can be programmed, from the perspectives of both affinity and of structure. Structural DNA nanotechnology has been based on directing the cohesion of branched DNA motifs by the same cohesive interactions used by genetic engineers. As a result, multiply-connected objects, periodic and aperiodic arrays and nanomechanical devices have been produced by these systems. Current experiments are directed at using nucleic acid systems to scaffold the spatial assembly of other species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-370
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Nanotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005



  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Branched DNA
  • DNA devices
  • DNA periodic arrays
  • DNA polyhedra
  • DNA scaffolding
  • Self-assembly
  • Unusual DNA motifs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry

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