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Assembling Nanoelectronic Structures From Biomolecular Templates and Chemically Modified Nanoparticles

J. E. Hutchison*,a, S. M. Reeda, L. O. Browna, J. L. Moostera, L. Clarkeb and M. N. Wybourne.c

aDepartment of Chemistry and Materials Science Institute,
University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 97403

bDepartment of Physics, University of Oregon,
Eugene, OR 97403

cDepartment of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College,
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755

This is an abstract for a presentation given at the
Sixth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.
There will be a link from here to the full article when it is available on the web.


The fabrication of nanoelectronic devices based upon Coulomb blockade is a promising approach to increasing electronic device density and speed. Most Coulomb blockade devices operate only at greatly reduced temperatures and require sophisticated nanofabrication techniques; successful operation at room-temperature will require further reduction of device size. New methods of nanofabrication are needed to attain these small dimensions. Molecular methods of nanofabrication involving chemical self-assembly offer access to nanoscale structures and, importantly, offer diversity and tunability not accessible in traditional solid-state electronic materials.

Our method of nanofabrication involves assembly of metal nanoparticles onto biopolymeric scaffolds to form low-dimensional arrays. Biopolymers such as polypeptides and DNA can adopt linear, rigid structures that are useful templates for nanoparticle self-assembly. The chemical interactions between small molecules and these biopolymers are well known and can be exploited to target the attachment of nanoparticles to the templates in a rational fashion. In addition, chemical and physical modification of the biopolymer strands should provide a means of electrically contacting the arrays and connecting strands into more complex circuits.

We have prepared small (metal core d < 2 nm), narrow-dispersity, alkanethiol-stabilized gold nanoparticles via ligand exchange reactions and found that thin films of these particles exhibit Coulomb blockade at room temperature.[Brown et al. (1997), Clarke et al. (1998)] Here we will present a new family of nanoparticles wherein we can tune the particle's solubility, reactivity and interparticle spacing utilizing unique mixtures of capping and bridging ligands. [Reed and Hutchison (in preparation)] Inert, capping ligands serve to control the particle's solubility and interparticle spacing whereas terminally-substituted bridging ligands provide a means of attaching the nanoparticles to biopolymer templates through covalent, electrostatic or hydrogen bonding interactions.

Our use of such templates to organize nanoparticles into low-dimensional arrays on surfaces and the electronic properties, such as the current-voltage characteristics, of such arrays will be discussed. This work was supported by NSF and ONR.

  • Brown, L. O.; Hutchison, J. E. (1997) J. Am. Chem. Soc., 119, pages 12384-12385. Convenient Preparation of Stable, Narrow-Dispersity, Gold Nanocrystals by Ligand Exchange Reactions
  • Clarke, L.; Wybourne, M. N.; Brown, L. O.; Hutchison, J. E.; Yan, M.; Cai, S. X.; Keana, J. F. W. (1998) Semiconductor Science and Technology, In press. Room Temperature Coulomb-Blockade Dominated Transport in Gold-Nanocluster Structures
  • Reed, S. M.; Hutchison, J. E. Manuscript in preparation. Synthesis of Thiol-stabilized Easily-functionalized Water Soluble Gold Nanoparticles.

*Corresponding Address:
James E. Hutchison
Department of Chemistry, 1253 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1253
phone: (541)346-4228
email:, www: http://darkwing.uoregon. edu/~chem/hutchison.html


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