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BAA: Complex DNA Nanostructures

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is interested in receiving proposals to advance research and development of “Self-Assembly Error Detection and Analysis in Complex DNA Nanostructures.”

The topic is part of a Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) addressing nanoscience and nanotechnology priorities for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

Molecular self-assembly with DNA is an attractive approach to creating nanoscale devices given the range of DNA nanostructures that can be designed and built (e.g. periodic, aperiodic, two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and reconfigurable nanostructures), and the ability of DNA nanostructures to precisely organize heteroelements (e.g. proteins, peptides, nanoparticles, and carbon nanotubes).

Some of the technological applications of DNA nanostructures and DNA nanostructure-based devices that have already been explored include shape controlled synthesis of inorganic materials, macromolecular structure determination, templating of functional enzyme systems, single molecule sensing with nanopores or nanobarcodes, plasmonic metamaterials, and “smart” medical devices that deliver drugs selectively to disease sites.

The process of DNA self-assembly has error, though, and experimental feedback on the structure and composition of DNA nanostructures will be required to develop robust design principles minimizing DNA self-assembly defects if the full potential of DNA-based nanostructure-devices is to be realized.

The standard methods of imaging single DNA nanostructures at multiple nanometer resolution by atomic force microscopy or transmission electron microscopy are insufficient to resolve defects. The objective of this program is to develop a high-throughput approach for the atomic-resolution structural analysis of DNA nanostructures.

Further details are available under Solicitation Number: ONR-15-SN-0002. The response deadline is February 26, 2015.

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