Session J27: Focus Session: DNA Translocation / Nanopores - Experiments

11:15 AM–2:03 PM, Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Colorado Convention Center Room: 301

Sponsoring Units: DMP DBP
Chair: Aniket Bhattacharya, University of Central Florida

Abstract ID: BAPS.2007.MAR.J27.1

Abstract: J27.00001 : A tunable DNA spring in a nanochannel

11:15 AM–11:27 AM

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  Robert Riehn
  Rory Staunton
  Shuang Fang Lim
    (Dept. of Physics, NC State University)

  Robijn Bruinsma
    (Department of Physics, UC Los Angeles)

  Walter Reisner
    (Technical University of Denmark)

  Robert Austin
    (Dept. of Physics, Princeton University)

dsDNA becomes linearized when it is confined to nanofluidic channels with a cross-section of (100 nm)$^2$ or less, which has made them interesting for genomic DNA analyses. DNA is typically manipulated by means of electric fields. We have found that DNA undergoes a phase transition to a condensed state if an a.c. electric field is applied along the channel direction. The molecule collapses to about 1/4 of it's initial contour length. We will discuss how the effect depends on parameters such as frequency, field strength, channel dimensions, and will discuss the origin of the effect. Interestingly, DNA behaves like an artifical muscle that can be triggered by an a.c. electric field. Since the interaction is expected to hold for any solubilized polyelectrolyte, we speculate that the mechanism may lead to a new class of polymer-based mechanical actuators. These would not suffer from depolarization like piezo transducers.

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