Method Optimization of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Thin Films for Biotronics

Report No. ARL-TR-5691
Authors: Thomas J. Proctor and Amethist S. Finch
Date/Pages: September 2011; 20 pages
Abstract: In today's Army, there is a pressing need to improve the quality of the electronics used in the field. Some requirements include the fabrication of electronic devices that are cheaper, smaller, and lighter, all the while maintaining or even expanding their technical capabilities. An example of this research is the use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to create thin-film membranes that could be used in electronics. For example, these thin films have been successfully used in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) (1). However, this work focuses on the optimization of membrane fabrication parameters, such as when the sample volume should be added to the spin-coater, spin-coat speed, and solvent type. This can be accomplished by mixing a surfactant, cetyltrimethylammonium chloride (CTAC), with the DNA, causing DNA-cetyltrimethylammonium (DNA-CTMA) to precipitate out of solution. Then, the DNA-CTMA is redissolved in an organic solvent and spin-coated onto a silicon wafer to create the thin film. We demonstrated that certain conditions yield DNA-CTMA films that were thinner and more uniform. We envision that this work could be used in several electronic, photonic, and electro-optic applications.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2011