DNA is depicted in elementary chemistry and biology texts as a perfect double helix; but local structural variations and nanoscale motions within the double helix are critical for its ability to be packaged, recognized, and transcribed. DNA is becoming a favored nanoscale assembly tool due to the precise pairing of complementary strands that in principle can bring nanoscale objects within a well-defined distance of each other. However, future nanotechnology applications of DNA need to take into account its variable nanoscale structural and dynamic properties, especially in terms of its solvent shell and counterions. This article highlights efforts of the authors to (1) interrogate nanoscale structures of DNA using nanoparticles and (2) measure the dynamic nature of DNA over six orders of magnitude in time, using a fluorescent reporter in the base stack.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry