Recently we noted the use of DNA nanotechnology to build a solar energy antenna as another example of progress in the modular molecular composite nanosystems (MMCNs) approach to developing atomically precise manufacturing. Structural DNA nanotechnology is currently the only way we have to manufacture large (million-atom, 100-nm-scale) arbitrarily complex atomically precise objects, so it plays a central role in the MMCN approach. Two very useful recent overviews of structural DNA nanotechnology have been made freely available on the web.

DNA nanotechnology: a curiosity or a promising technology? by Thomas Tørring and Kurt V. Gothelf, Center for DNA Nanotechnology (CDNA) at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Aarhus University, Denmark, nicely covers the most important results of this extensive and rapidly progressing field in a very brief and accessible article.

A more detailed and technical review emphasizes the use of DNA scaffolds to orient molecules for single-molecule studies: “Single-Molecule Analysis Using DNA Origami” by Arivazhagan Rajendran, Masayuki Endo, and Hiroshi Sugiyama of Kyoto University and Japan Science and Technology Corporation [abstract] has been made available by the authors as a full-text PDF here. This extensive review covers single-molecule biomolecular recognition, conformational analysis, chemical reactions, enzymatic reactions, single molecule fluorescence studies, and cargo transporters and DNA robots. As documented by this review, the volume of work in this field has expanded to the point that we can cover only a small part of it here, so this review is a good place to get some appreciation of what is happening. The part that struck me as most relevant to atomically precise manufacturing was the example of “click chemistry” on a DNA origami surface (section 4.2, Fig. 7) since this might represent a path toward positional control of chemical synthesis.
—James Lewis, PhD