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Using DNA to Carve Graphene

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 11:37AM

Deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA, is a very special kind of molecule as it is able to contain all of the information needed to grow an organism. Because of this power, it has been studied extensively and researchers have found many ways to manipulate it. Now researchers at MIT and Harvard University have discovered a means to use DNA to etch structures into graphene.

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon with many extraordinary properties, which is why many are working to incorporate it into electronics. One challenge with this effort though is creating the necessary graphene structures, such as ribbons. One method is to use electron beams to cut out the shapes, but this is an expensive and slow process. What the researchers decided to do was place pieces of synthetic DNA that form special shapes onto graphene and then coat the DNA in metal. The metallized DNA protected the graphene beneath it from plasma lithography, which burned away the uncovered graphene. After washing away the DNA, the researchers were left with the desired graphene structure.

This discovery could have a profound impact on many efforts concerning graphene as it could greatly ease fabrication efforts. One issue though is that the graphene structure left behind is not perfect, so this method is a little lacking in precision, but with more time, that may change.

Source: MIT

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Guest comment
hi on April 16, 2013 12:09PM
how is DNA a molecule?? that's like too small to be something like that did you do biology mister jim?
bp9801 on April 16, 2013 09:44PM
It actually is a molecule, believe it or not.
damian on April 16, 2013 02:58PM
"but scientists have recently found ways to exploit this versatile molecule" Thats from the source of the article. Pretty sure he is just summing it up

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