Making 3D Superconducting Nanostructures With DNA

3D Superconducting Nano Architectures

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An illustration demonstrating how extremely nanostructured 3-D superconducting products can be developed based upon DNA self-assembly. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

Complex 3D nanoscale architectures based upon DNA self-assembly can perform electrical power without resistance and might supply a platform for making quantum computing and noticing gadgets

Three-dimensional (3-D) nanostructured products — those with complicated shapes at a size scale of billionths of a meter — that can perform electrical power without resistance might be utilized in a series of quantum gadgets. For example, such 3-D superconducting nanostructures might discover application in signal amplifiers to boost the speed and precision of quantum computer systems and ultrasensitive electromagnetic field sensing units for medical imaging and subsurface geology mapping. However, standard fabrication tools such as lithography have actually been restricted to 1-D and 2-D nanostructures like superconducting wires and thin movies.

Now, researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia University, and Bar-Ilan University in Israel have actually established a platform for making 3-D superconducting nano-architectures with a recommended company. As reported in the November 10, 2020, problem of Nature Communications, this platform is based upon the self-assembly of DNA into preferred 3-D shapes at the nanoscale. In DNA self-assembly, a single long hair of DNA is folded by much shorter complementary “staple” hairs at particular areas — comparable to origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.

“Because of its structural programmability, DNA can provide an assembly platform for building designed nanostructures,” stated co-corresponding author Oleg Gang, leader of the Soft and Bio Nanomaterials Group at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) and a teacher of chemical engineering and of used physics and products science at Columbia Engineering. “However, the fragility of DNA makes it seem unsuitable for functional device fabrication and nanomanufacturing that requires inorganic materials. In this study, we showed how DNA can serve as a scaffold for building 3-D nanoscale architectures that can be fully “converted” into inorganic products like superconductors.”

To make the scaffold, the Brookhaven and Columbia Engineering researchers initially created octahedral-shaped DNA origami “frames.” Aaron Michelson, Gang’s college student, used a DNA-programmable method so that these frames would put together into preferred lattices. Then, he utilized a chemistry method to coat the DNA lattices with silicon dioxide (silica), strengthening the initially soft buildings, which needed a liquid environment to maintain their structure. The group customized the fabrication procedure so the structures were real to their style, as verified by imaging at the CFN Electron Microscopy Facility and small-angle x-ray scattering at the Complex Materials Scattering beamline of Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II). These experiments showed that the structural stability was protected after they covered the DNA lattices.

“In its original form, DNA is completely unusable for processing with conventional nanotechnology methods,” stated Gang. “But once we coat the DNA with silica, we have a mechanically robust 3-D architecture that we can deposit inorganic materials on using these methods. This is analogous to traditional nanomanufacturing, in which valuable materials are deposited onto flat substrates, typically silicon, to add functionality.”

The group delivered the silica-coated DNA lattices from the CFN to Bar-Ilan’s Institute of Superconductivity, which is headed by Yosi Yeshurun. Gang and Yeshurun ended up being familiarized a couple years earlier, when Gang provided a workshop on his DNA assembly research study. Yeshurun — who over the previous years has been studying the residential or commercial properties of superconductivity at the nanoscale — believed that Gang’s DNA-based technique could supply an option to an issue he was attempting to fix: How can we make superconducting nanoscale structures in 3 measurements?

“Previously, making 3-D nanosuperconductors involved a very elaborate and difficult process using conventional fabrication techniques,” stated Yeshurun, co-corresponding author. “Here, we found a relatively simple way using Oleg’s DNA structures.”

At the Institute of Superconductivity, Yeshurun’s college student Lior Shani vaporized a low-temperature superconductor (niobium) onto a silicon chip including a little sample of the lattices. The evaporation rate and silicon substrate temperature level needed to be thoroughly managed so that niobium covered the sample however did not permeate all the method through. If that occurred, a brief might take place in between the electrodes utilized for the electronic transportation measurements.

“We cut a special channel in the substrate to ensure that the current would only go through the sample itself,” described Yeshurun.

The measurements exposed a 3-D selection of Josephson junctions, or thin nonsuperconducting barriers through which superconducting present tunnels. Arrays of Josephson junctions are essential to leveraging quantum phenomena in useful innovations, such as superconducting quantum disturbance gadgets for electromagnetic field noticing. In 3-D, more junctions can be loaded into a little volume, increasing gadget power.

“DNA origami has been producing beautiful and ornate 3-D nanoscale structures for almost 15 years, but DNA itself is not necessarily a useful functional material,” stated Evan Runnerstrom, program supervisor for products style at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory of the U.S. Army Research Office, which moneyed the operate in part. “What Prof. Gang has shown here is that you can leverage DNA origami as a template to create useful 3-D nanostructures of functional materials, like superconducting niobium. This ability to arbitrarily design and fabricate complex 3-D-structured functional materials from the bottom-up will accelerate the Army’s modernization efforts in areas like sensing, optics, and quantum computing.”

“We demonstrated a pathway for how complex DNA organizations can be used to create highly nanostructured 3-D superconducting materials,” stated Gang. “This material conversion pathway gives us an ability to make a variety of systems with interesting properties — not only superconductivity but also other electronic, mechanical, optical, and catalytic properties. We can envision it as a “molecular lithography,” where the power of DNA programmability is moved to 3-D inorganic nanofabrication.”

Reference: 10 November 2020, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19439-9

This research study was supported by the U.S. Department of Defense, Army Research Office; DOE Office of Science; Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology; and Israel Science Foundation. Both CFN and NSLS-II are DOE Office of Science User Facilities. Some imaging research studies were performed at the Imaging Facility of the City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center.

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