Hot Paper: Theoretical understanding of single-stranded DNA assisted dispersion of graphene

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Functionalisation of graphene by adsorbed single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) enables the dispersion of graphene in aqueous solution.  The resulting composites are of great interest as biomaterials with applications in areas such as molecular diagnostics, biosensors and DNA sequencing. Hence, there is much to be gained from an improved understanding of the interaction between graphene and ssDNA.

In this hot paper, Manna and Pati use atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and density functional theory (DFT) to investigate the structural topology, energetics and electronic structure of ssDNA hybridized with graphene.  They find the adsorption process is influenced by competing π–π stacking interactions, which are highly dependent on the chemical nature of the nucleobase and the sequence type of the ssDNA.  Mixed nucleobase sequence ssDNA is proposed as a better candidate for dispersing graphene than ssDNA containing homologous base sequences.

This research provides a fundamental understanding of the adsorption of ssDNA on graphene, and therefore has important implications for the design of graphene-based biomaterials.

Theoretical understanding of single-stranded DNA assisted dispersion of graphene
J. Mater. Chem. B, 2013, 1, 91-100 DOI: 10.1039/C2TB00184E

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