Shape changing thin films powered by DNA hybridization

Tae Soup Shim, Zaki G. Estephan, Zhaoxia Qian, Jacob H. Prosser, Su Yeon Lee, David M. Chenoweth, Daeyeon Lee, So Jung Park, John C. Crocker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Active materials that respond to physical and chemical stimuli can be used to build dynamic micromachines that lie at the interface between biological systems and engineered devices. In principle, the specific hybridization of DNA can be used to form a library of independent, chemically driven actuators for use in such microrobotic applications and could lead to device capabilities that are not possible with polymer- or metal-layer-based approaches. Here, we report shape changing films that are powered by DNA strand exchange reactions with two different domains that can respond to distinct chemical signals. The films are formed from DNA-grafted gold nanoparticles using a layer-by-layer deposition process. Films consisting of an active and a passive layer show rapid, reversible curling in response to stimulus DNA strands added to solution. Films consisting of two independently addressable active layers display a complex suite of repeatable transformations, involving eight mechanochemical states and incorporating self-righting behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2017

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© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


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