Ph. D. Defense

Engineering Exquisite Nanoscale Behavior with DNA

Speaker:Nikhil Gopalkrishnan
nikhil at
Date: Monday, May 21, 2012
Time: 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: D344 LSRC, Duke
Alvin Lebeck, Chris Dwyer, Thom LaBean


Self-assembly is a pervasive natural phenomenon that gives rise to complex structures and functions. It describes processes in which a disordered system of components form organized structures as a consequence of specifi c, local interactions among the components themselves, without any external direction. Biological self-assembled systems, evolved over billions of years, are more intricate, more energy efficient and more functional than anything researchers have currently achieved at the nanoscale. A challenge for human designed physical self-assembled systems is to catch up with mother nature. I argue through examples that DNA is an apt material to meet this challenge. This work presents:
1. 3D self-assembled DNA nanostructures.
2. Illustrations of the simplicity and power of toehold-mediated strand displacement interactions.
3. Algorithmic constructs in the tile assembly model.
Advisor(s): John Reif