Self-assembly methods have the potential to integrate heterogeneous nanoscale objects to create multifunctional systems, with applications ranging from environmental sensing to theranostics. DNA is an ideal system with which to investigate the potential of self-assembly because of its programmability, versatility, and availability. We design DNA structures and DNA-mediated assembly processes to probe the limits of diffusional and driven self-assembly in an effort to elucidate the underlying thermodynamic and kinetic effects that control the speed, yield, and complexity of self-assembled nanostructures. Our research effort involves both experimental and theoretical investigations. We use ensemble fluorescence methods to understand the dynamics of assembly, and single-construct measurements, by transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and single-molecule fluorescence to provide insight into the degree of perfection that can be achieved. The self-assembly lab is part of the Microsystems and Nanotechnology Division, where we develop instrumentation beyond the state of the art. Our research program offers a supportive, highly-multidisciplinary environment coupled with outstanding experimental resources.
D. Schiffels, V. A. Szalai, J. A. Liddle, Molecular Precision at Micrometer Length Scales: Hierarchical Assembly of DNA-Protein Nanostructures, ACS Nano 11, 6623-6629 (2017)
J. A. Liddle and G. M. Gallatin, Nanomanufacturing: A Perspective, ACS Nano 10, 2995-3014, (2016)
S. H. Ko and J. A. Liddle, Quantum Dot Fluorescence Lifetime Engineering with DNA Origami Constructs. Angewandte Chemie 52, 1193, (2013)