The field of materials science has recently gained the ability to assemble singly-functional nanomaterials to DNA backbones; however, future applications for this technology (in electronics and photonics) require a hierarchical assembly of multifunctional nanomaterials with controlled spatial resolution and high specificity. This will make it possible for nanomaterials to be assembled onto DNA templates in a simple, cost-effective manner.
This technology is based on the modification of specific portions of DNA used to create the DNA backbone in nanomaterial structures. Phosphorothioate modification causes these sites on the DNA to be more reactive to and bind with bifunctional linkers. Once bound, the other end of the linker can be attached to nanoscale materials, such as nanoparticles, quantum dots or nanotubes. The implementation of these dual functional linkers makes it possible to achieve shapes and specificity with nanoscale structures that were not previously attainable.