Mechanical characteriztion of single-stranded DNA and single-walled carbon nanotube hybrid structures
Hybrid nanostructures of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and single-walled carbon nanotubes are being proposed as the basis for the next generation of biosensors. For such biosensors, mechanical properties such as the Young's modulus of the hybrid structures play a critical role, which to the best of the author's knowledge is still unknown. Thus, the determination of the Young's modulus of the ssDNA/swCNT hybrid structures was the primary objective of this study. Hybrid structures of 30mer polyT ssDNA and HiPCORTM swCNTs were conjugated using a well known non-covalent interaction protocol. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to scan and generate topographic images and perform nanoindentation tests on the hybrid structures. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using a commercial MD program, Materials StudioRTM were performed to study the nature of non-covalent interactions between the ssDNA and the swCNT on the pico-second timescale. AFM topography scans of the bare control HiPCORTM swCNTs indicated an average diameter of about 1.0 nm and length of 800 nm. Similarly, the control 30mer polyT ssDNA was found to resemble a half-hemispherical domed structure with an average height of 2.1 nm. Nanoindentation tests yielded the transverse Young's modulus of the control swCNTs to be 78.0 GPa. The control ssDNA were found to have a Young's modulus of 3.3 GPa and 4.0 MPa in dry and wet environments, respectively. Topographic scans of the ssDNA/swCNT hybrid structures showed the slender swCNTs fully or partially coated along their lengths by ssDNA. The height of the hybrid structures ranged from 2.5 nm to 7.5 nm. Nanoindentation tests on the ssDNA coated portions of the hybrid structures indicated that, their Young's modulus exponentially decreased with increasing coating thickness. Thinly coated sections were found to have a Young's modulus of 100.0 GPa and 7.0 MPa in dry and wet conditions respectively. The thick walled hybrid sections were found to have an average Young's modulus of 4.5 GPa and 1.0 GPa in the dry and wet environments, respectively. MD results indicated that the wrapping of the ssDNA had a significant impact on the hybrid structures. The longitudinal Young's modulus of a hybrid structure was found to be approximately 50.0 GPa, compared to a bare nanotube whose Young's modulus was approximately 800 GPa. Overall, the experimental and numerical results displayed consistent trends. The experimental results reported the swCNTs to have the highest transverse Young's modulus followed by the hybrids and the ssDNA. Similarly, the numerical simulations predicted the highest longitudinal Young's modulus for the swCNTs, followed by the hybrids and the DNA.
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- Engineering, Mechanical;Nanotechnology