Posted: June 21, 2006

Exploiting RNA in the construction of nanodevices

(Nanowerk News) The University of Limerick in Ireland, a participant in the IST-funded MINT project, investigated the use of folded RNA as a templating agent in the construction of nanostructures.
The composition of Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is a well-known. Consequently, very small-scale structures can be created with great precision by folding RNA. Five research organisations across Europe came together to try to exploit RNA folding as a means of creating high-quality nanoscale structures for use in nanodevices.
The RNA was assembled in a tessellated pattern (i.e. with no gaps or overlaps) and overlain with a poly m-aminophenol film designed specifically for such applications. Having served its role as a templating agent, the RNA is then removed. The remaining polymer film is then subjected to a sequence of electrochemical baths that deposit metals such as copper, silver or palladium.
The University of Limerick applied a number of techniques, ranging from Atomic Force Microscopy to Focused Ion Beam Milling and E-Beam arrays, to investigate the resulting nanostructures. They determined that modifying the RNA with phosphothioate produced the best results. Furthermore, application of electrochemical sweep and other methods enabled the use of simple inorganic, benign, pH neutral electrochemical baths.
This work has relevance for the construction of nanometer scale devices that can be interconnected with each other.
Source: Cordis