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Capturing light with an antenna based on DNA

The remarkable performance of biological light-harvesting complexes has prompted a multidisciplinary interest in engineering biologically inspired antenna systems as a possible route to novel solar cell technologies.

Analogous to origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, DNA can be folded into complex shapes via molecular self-assembly. This novel technique, known as ‘DNA origami’, has enabled the creation of sophisticated DNA nanostructures with precise control over size, shape and chemical functionality. This makes it an elegant technique to mimic some of the exquisite nano-engineering of biological light-harvesting complexes and explore the optimal co-ordination of pigments in efficient antennas.

We have recently designed an artificial, programmable antenna system on a DNA origami platform. Creating a library of over 40 assembled antenna structures, we systematically analysed the light-harvesting efficiency with respect to the geometry and number of “donor” pigments that can capture and transfer photonic energy to an “acceptor” pigment. This new origami platform is extremely reliable and provides a robust, programmable substrate for implementing advanced nanoscale antenna design concepts.

Elisa Hemmig

NanoDTC PhD Associate 2014

Department of Biochemistry

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NanoDTC student paper accepted as an Editor's Pick in APL Materials

Mar 15, 2019

c2017 student Kevin Lim's paper was accepted as an Editor's Pick in APL Materials

Applications for Oct 2019 entry

Feb 04, 2019

We accepting applications for entry in Oct 2019. See 'How to apply' for more information.

40 new EPSRC studentships for NanoDTC

Feb 04, 2019

We are pleased to announce that EPSRC have awarded a new Nano CDT grant of 40 studentships for training the next generation of interdisciplinary innovative nanoscientists

Midi+PhD Project Proposals from Cambridge Academics

Dec 19, 2018

We are now accepting project proposals for Midi (May-Jul 2019) + PhD projects (starting Oct 2019) for our c2018 students. Deadline 18 Feb.