Optical voltage sensing using DNA origami

Nano Lett., 2018, 18 (3), pp 1962–1971, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b05354
Nano Lett., online article


We explore the potential of DNA nanotechnology for developing novel optical voltage sensing nano-devices that convert a local change of electric potential into optical signals. As a proof-of-concept of the sensing mechanism, we assembled voltage responsive DNA origami structures labelled with a single pair of FRET dyes. The DNA structures were reversibly immobilised on a nanocapillary tip and underwent controlled structural changes upon application of an electric field. The applied field was monitored through a change in FRET efficiency. By exchanging the position of a single dye, we could tune the voltage sensitivity of our DNA origami structure, demonstrating the flexibility and versatility of our approach. The experimental studies were complemented by coarse-grained simulations that characterised voltage-dependent elastic deformation of the DNA nanostructures and the associated change in the distance between the FRET pair. Our work opens a novel pathway for determining the mechanical properties of DNA origami structures, and highlights potential applications of dynamic DNA nanostructures as voltage sensors.

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