Self-Assembling, conductive DNA molecules which enable easy manufacture of DNA-based circuits and electrical devices

Porath Danny, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Institute of Chemistry


  • Micro- and nano-electronics underpin a significant part of the global economy. The global turnover of the sector was $310 billion in 2012. The value of products comprising micro- and nanoelectronics components represents around $215 billion of value globally.
  • Transparency Market Research reports a projected growth in the global nano-sensors market from US$26.9 million in 2014 to exceeding US$1.5 billion by 2021. While there are several existing and emerging uses of nano-sensors, with healthcare and biomedical being the most remunerative, these miniature devices are also seeing an escalating use in military and homeland security applications. However, the mass-production of nanowire sensors is still regarded as being difficult because there is a dearth of equipment that can precisely and rapidly assemble these extremely tiny wires on a given surface.
  • Since DNA molecules have the ability to self-assemble into two- and three-dimensional nanoarchitectures, an ability to conduct electricity would make them a tempting target for the production of DNA-based circuits and electrical devices.
  • Conductivity of double stranded DNA is very low, especially when the molecules are deposited on hard surfaces.
  • There is a need for a process to precisely and rapidly assemble extremely tiny, conductive nanowires on a given surface.There is a need for a process to precisely and rapidly assemble extremely tiny, conductive nanowires

Our Innovation

Hybrid nucleic acid-metal complex with the ability to conduct electricity (E-DNA):

  • The process is selective to poly(dG)-poly(dC) and is not active on random or poly(dA)-poly(dT) sequences. This paves the way to combining conductive segments with connecting segments to form programmable circuits.
  • The metallization process is simple and low-cost and it is performed at ambient temperatures.
  • Metalized hybrid DNA molecules can conduct electrical current and may be used as nanowires in nanoelectronic devices and DNA-based programmable circuits.
  • Metal atoms positioned along the DNA molecules improve the charge transport properties, producing an attractive candidate for nanoelectronics.




    (A) Tentative scheme of E-DNA formation, (B) AFM imaging of an intermediate stage of E-DNA formation



    Development Milestones

    • Further optimization of the metallization process and its reproducibility, including avoiding possible defects
    • Development of additional metallization schemes
    • Electrical transport measurements
    • Combination of metalized segments in multiple DNA constructions


  • Patent Status

    Published US 2019/0106453 A1

    Contact for more information:

    Matt Zarek
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