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Published October 28, 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

Solution, surface, and single molecule platforms for the study of DNA-mediated charge transport


The structural core of DNA, a continuous stack of aromatic heterocycles, the base pairs, which extends down the helical axis, gives rise to the fascinating electronic properties of this molecule that is so critical for life. Our laboratory and others have developed diverse experimental platforms to investigate the capacity of DNA to conduct charge, termed DNA-mediated charge transport (DNA CT). Here, we present an overview of DNA CT experiments in solution, on surfaces, and with single molecules that collectively provide a broad and consistent perspective on the essential characteristics of this chemistry. DNA CT can proceed over long molecular distances but is remarkably sensitive to perturbations in base pair stacking. We discuss how this foundation, built with data from diverse platforms, can be used both to inform a mechanistic description of DNA CT and to inspire the next platforms for its study: living organisms and molecular electronics.

Additional Information

© 2012 the Owner Societies. Received 17th May 2012, Accepted 18th July 2012. First published on the web 31st July 2012. This article is part of themed collection: Electron Transfer Theory and Biophysics and biophysical chemistry in PCCP. We are grateful to the NIH (GM49216 and GM61077) for their support of this work. We thank also our coworkers for their great efforts, sometimes against the tide, in carrying out their experiments.

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