Discovery of the DNA “Genetic Code” for Abiological Gold Nanoparticle Morphologies


  • We wish to thank Prof. Catherine Murphy for helpful discussions, and Hannah Ihms and Tiffany Hopper for proof-reading the manuscript. This work has been supported by the National Science Foundation Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS) under NSF Award no. 0749028 (CMMI) and by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2011CB935704). Scanning Electron Microscopy was carried out at the Center for Microanalysis of Materials, University of Illinois, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant DEFG02-91-ER45439.


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DNA is in control: Different combinations of DNA nucleotides can control the shape and surface roughness of gold nanoparticles during their synthesis. These nanoparticles were synthesized in the presence of either homogenous oligonucleotides or mixed-base oligonucleotides using gold nanoprisms as seeds. The effect of the individual DNA bases and their combinations on shape control are shown in the figure.