DNA Origami as a Foundry for Artificial Electromagnetic Materials

  • Simon Butler

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis describes work conducted to create a pathway for the fabrication of non-arbitrary nanomaterials using biological systems as foundries. Due to the difficulties of their fabrication by conventional nanofabrication systems we use an optical metamaterial sized split ring structure as an
exemplar. We investigate all aspects of construction from design to fabrication. While we describe a specific design directly our method incorporates a modular system easily adjustable by other groups.

Unit cell size was determined using information available in the literature. A breadboard design was created employing the M13MP18 scaffold. Once a board size was confirmed split rings within the unit cell/feature size were simulated to ensure they displayed unusual optical effects. This design was then fabricated by decorating a scaffolded DNA origami breadboard with gold nanoparticles.

We demonstrate programmable metallisation of a DNA origami breadboard, in high throughput, via a near surface saturation layer of structures. We also address existing bottlenecks in the literature as well as other artefacts detrimental to fabrication. This is facilitated by creation of a novel functionalised gold nanoparticle purification device and adaptation of existing techniques to increase efficiency and fidelity.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRebecca Seviour (Main Supervisor) & Alan Smith (Co-Supervisor)

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