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Synthesis, characterization and conductivity studies of conducting polymer-DNA hybrids (polyconDNA)
Start date: 01 Oct 2008, End date: 30 Sep 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In this project we propose to develop conducting nanoscale molecular wires based on hybrid polymer materials. The concept is to use DNA as a scaffold for the attachment of polymerisable monomer units covalently bound to the DNA nucleosides. Novel synthetic nucleosides will be prepared for oligomerisation using automated solid phase DNA synthesis. It is intended to synthesise modified nucleosides, in particular the pyrimidines, which can be applied to the sequence specific synthesis of DNA strands. The nucleoside will be modified with units derived from pyrrole and thiophene since these compounds are readily polymerized to conducting materials. In using DNA as a scaffold or backbone the self-assembling properties of DNA may be exploited for the construction of large and complex nanoscale architectures. In this way it should be possible to direct the assembly of nanoscale wiring by using the inherent biological assembly process of the DNA part of the hybrid material. Established synthetic methodologies will used for the synthesis of the precursor compounds and these will be characterised using standard techniques to establish structural details, e.g. NMR, elemental analysis, ionized electrospray mass spectroscopy LC(IES-MS), spectroscopic (FTIR, UV-vis). The synthesis of DNA oligomers will rely on phosphoramidite chemistry and automated solid phase protocols. The formation of conducting polymer wires will involve oxidation of the resulting DNA-pyrrole/DNA-thiophene strands using chemical and electrochemical approaches. The resulting materials will be characterised using a range of spectroscopies (FTIR, CD, UV-vis) as well as voltammetry and probe microscopy. Finally, the conducting properties of the materials will be examined using a combination of 2-electrode devices and scanning probe methods.
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