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Rewriting Life

Nanotech: Design by DNA

One goal of nanotechnology is to create electronic devices on the nanometer (billionths of a meter) scale. But making such tiny devices has been held up because moving nanoscale building blocks around one by one to form wires and components is so difficult. Now scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa say they have formed silver nanowires using DNA as a template. The researchers stretched strands of DNA between two gold anchors, using disulfide groups on the DNA as the glue. They exposed this scaffolding to a solution of silver ions, which are attracted by the negatively charged DNA. A standard chemical agent reduces the ions to silver metal, producing 100-nanometer-wide silver wires.

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