Towards the use of biologically inspired techniques for the assembly of electronic devices

H. McNally, M. Pingle, S. W. Lee, D. Guo, D. Bergstrom, Rashid Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nature assembles nano-scale components using molecular recognition. In the case of DNA, hydrogen bonding is the driving force behind the matching of complementary pairs of single-stranded (SS) DNA to hybridize into a double strand of helical DNA. For the case of antibodies/antigens and ligands/receptors, binding takes places by a combination of electrostatic forces, chemical bonding, and shape mediated effects. In this project, the assembly of micron sized and smaller particles using biologically inspired events such as DNA hybridization and interactions of ligands and receptors is being investigated. Following the case of DNA, a single strand sequence can be attached to the device surfaces, which is complementary to a single strand sequence previously attached to a patterned surface. Using the natural hybridization of DNA, the devices are expected to assemble in solution as designed onto the substrate surface. Single strands of DNA can be used to provide charge on the devices so that long-range electrostatic forces may be used to bring the devices close to the assembly site. We have also used a less complex molecule to add negative charges to the particles allowing them to be guided into place using electric fields. Attachment of these molecules to surfaces is a critical step in the assembly process. Various factors affecting the attachment are being investigated and will be reported. These include sample preparation and conditions for attachment. We have used polystyrene beads as test objects and optimized the capture of the beads using DNA and Avidin/Biotin interactions. When successful, this approach can be used to assemble micro and nano-scale electronic circuitry including heterogeneous integration of materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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