Miniaturization in microelectronics is beginning to reach its physical limits, say researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research, who are seeking new methods for device fabrication.

DNA nanotubes (shown in red) align along the prefabricated nanopattern on a silicon surface. (Credit: HZDR)
The researchers combined DNA origami with self-organized pattern formation. In DNA origami, structures self-assemble as long strands of the biomolecule fold into complex, predefined nanoscale shapes paired with smaller DNA strands. This method produced tubes that could be used as scaffolds to manufacture nanoelectronic components.

Then, the researchers irradiated silicon wafers with ions onto which they placed the nanostructures, resulting in spontaneous ordered nanopatterns resembling sand dunes.

Through electrostatic interactions between the charged DNA nanostructures and the charged surface, the nanotubes aligned themselves along the wavy patterns.

Since aligning the small tubes is based exclusively on electrostatic interaction with the prestructured surface, using this method, the nanotubes could also be arranged into more complex arrays, such as electronic circuits, they say.

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