Welcome to the pages of the Hybrid Nanostructures group. In our research we combine different methods from DNA nanotechnology, optical spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy in order to study physico-chemical processes in nanoscale materials and at the single-molecule level. Apart from methods development we investigate specific questions such as the mechanisms of plasmon-induced chemical reactions, the nucleotide sequence dependence of DNA radiation damage and the mode of action of radiosensitizers that are applied in tumor radiation therapy.
We are members of the innovation center innoFSPEC and the research initiative "Elementary Processes of Light-Driven Reactions at Nanoscale Metals*.
Our recent work:
DNA origami nanostructures are self-assembled into almost arbitrary two- and three-dimensional shapes from a long, single-stranded viral scaffold strand and a set of short artificial oligonucleotides. Each DNA strand can be functionalized individually using well-established DNA chemistry, representing addressable sites that allow for the nanometre precise placement of various chemical entities such as proteins, molecular chromophores, nanoparticles, or simply DNA motifs. By means of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques, these entities can be visualized or detected, and either their mutual interaction or their interaction with external stimuli such as radiation can be studied. This gives rise to the Lab-on-a- DNA origami approach, which is introduced in this Feature Article, and the state-of-the-art is summarized with a focus on light-harvesting nanoantennas and DNA platforms for single-molecule analysis either by optical spectroscopy or atomic force microscopy (AFM). Light-harvesting antennas can be generated by the precise arrangement of chromophores to channel and direct excitation energy. At the same time, plasmonic nanoparticles represent a complementary approach to focus light on the nanoscale. Plasmonic nanoantennas also allow for the observation of single molecules either by Raman scattering or fluorescence spectroscopy and DNA origami platforms provide unique opportunities to arrange nanoparticles and molecules to be studied. Finally, the analysis of single DNA motifs by AFM allows for an investigation of radiation-induced processes in DNA with unprecedented detail and accuracy.
Lab-on-a-DNA origami: nanoengineered single-molecule platforms; S. Kogikoski Jr, J. Ameixa, A. Mostafa and I. Bald, Chem. Commun., 2023, 59, 4726–4741