Spontaneous ssDNA stretching on graphene and hexagonal boron nitride in plane heterostructures.
ABSTRACT: Single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) molecules in solution typically form coiled structures, therefore stretching ssDNA is extremely crucial before applying any nanotechnology for ssDNA analysis. Recent advances in material fabrication enable the deployment of nanochannels to manipulate, stretch, sort and map double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) molecules, however nanochannels fail to stretch ssDNA molecules due to the ultra-short persistence length and the potential nonspecific-interaction-induced clogging. Given the significance of ssDNA stretching in genome analysis, here we report an ssDNA stretching platform: two dimensional in-plane heterostructure comprising graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), and show that ssDNA can be stretched on a h-BN nanostripe sandwiched between two adjacent graphene domains ("nanochannel"). We further show that with a biasing voltage the stretched ssDNA can be electrophoretically transported along the "nanochannel", allowing easy controls/manipulations. When being conveniently integrated with existing atomic resolution sensors, the heterostructure platform paves the way for sequencing DNA on a planar surface.
Project description:Graphene/hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) monolayer in-plane heterostructure offers a novel material platform for both fundamental research and device applications. To obtain such a heterostructure in high quality via controllable synthetic approaches is still challenging. In this work, in-plane epitaxy of graphene/h-BN heterostructure is demonstrated on Cu-Ni substrates. The introduction of nickel to copper substrate not only enhances the capability of decomposing polyaminoborane residues but also promotes graphene growth via isothermal segregation. On the alloy surface partially covered by h-BN, graphene is found to nucleate at the corners of the as-formed h-BN grains, and the high growth rate for graphene minimizes the damage of graphene-growth process on h-BN lattice. As a result, high-quality graphene/h-BN in-plane heterostructure with epitaxial relationship can be formed, which is supported by extensive characterizations. Photodetector device applications are demonstrated based on the in-plane heterostructure. The success will have important impact on future research and applications based on this unique material platform.
Project description:In this paper, owing to the electrostatic interaction between graphene and h-BN, a facile liquid phase exfoliation method was carried out to fabricate h-BN/graphene based van der Waals heterostructure nanocomposites without additional chemical cross-linkers. The physicochemical properties of as-prepared composites were characterized by several electron microscopic and spectroscopic measurements. The h-BN/graphene heterostructure composites were employed to use as the anodes of asymmetric supercapacitor, and exhibited exceptional capacitive performance due to their synergistic effects. It is expected that the as-prepared h-BN/graphene materials can boost scalable heterostructure electrodes in supercapacitors, and our liquid phase exfoliation method can be used for the construction of the other energy storage and electronics.
Project description:We present experimental data concerning potential topological events such as folds, internal backfolds, and/or knots within long molecules of double-stranded DNA when they are stretched by confinement in a nanochannel. Genomic DNA from E. coli was labeled near the 'GCTCTTC' sequence with a fluorescently labeled dUTP analog and stained with the DNA intercalator YOYO. Individual long molecules of DNA were then linearized and imaged using methods based on the NanoChannel Array technology (Irys® System) available from BioNano Genomics. Data were collected on 189?153 molecules of length greater than 50 kilobases. A custom code was developed to search for abnormal intensity spikes in the YOYO backbone profile along the length of individual molecules. By correlating the YOYO intensity spikes with the aligned barcode pattern to the reference, we were able to correlate the bright intensity regions of YOYO with abnormal stretching in the molecule, which suggests these events were either a knot or a region of internal backfolding within the DNA. We interpret the results of our experiments involving molecules exceeding 50 kilobases in the context of existing simulation data for relatively short DNA, typically several kilobases. The frequency of these events is lower than the predictions from simulations, while the size of the events is larger than simulation predictions and often exceeds the molecular weight of the simulated molecules. We also identified DNA molecules that exhibit large, single folds as they enter the nanochannels. Overall, topological events occur at a low frequency (?7% of all molecules) and pose an easily surmountable obstacle for the practice of genome mapping in nanochannels.
Project description:Van der Waals heterostructures combining hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) and graphene offer many potential advantages, but remain difficult to produce as continuous films over large areas. In particular, the growth of h-BN on graphene has proven to be challenging due to the inertness of the graphene surface. Here we exploit a scalable molecular beam epitaxy based method to allow both the h-BN and graphene to form in a stacked heterostructure in the favorable growth environment provided by a Ni(111) substrate. This involves first saturating a Ni film on MgO(111) with C, growing h-BN on the exposed metal surface, and precipitating the C back to the h-BN/Ni interface to form graphene. The resulting laterally continuous heterostructure is composed of a top layer of few-layer thick h-BN on an intermediate few-layer thick graphene, lying on top of Ni/MgO(111). Examinations by synchrotron-based grazing incidence diffraction, X-ray photoemission spectroscopy, and UV-Raman spectroscopy reveal that while the h-BN is relaxed, the lattice constant of graphene is significantly reduced, likely due to nitrogen doping. These results illustrate a different pathway for the production of h-BN/graphene heterostructures, and open a new perspective for the large-area preparation of heterosystems combining graphene and other 2D or 3D materials.
Project description:Inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy is a powerful technique for investigating lattice dynamics of nanoscale systems including graphene and small molecules, but establishing a stable tunnel junction is considered as a major hurdle in expanding the scope of tunneling experiments. Hexagonal boron nitride is a pivotal component in two-dimensional Van der Waals heterostructures as a high-quality insulating material due to its large energy gap and chemical-mechanical stability. Here we present planar graphene/h-BN-heterostructure tunneling devices utilizing thin h-BN as a tunneling insulator. With much improved h-BN-tunneling-junction stability, we are able to probe all possible phonon modes of h-BN and graphite/graphene at ? and K high symmetry points by inelastic tunneling spectroscopy. Additionally, we observe that low-frequency out-of-plane vibrations of h-BN and graphene lattices are significantly modified at heterostructure interfaces. Equipped with an external back gate, we can also detect high-order coupling phenomena between phonons and plasmons, demonstrating that h-BN-based tunneling device is a wonderful playground for investigating electron-phonon couplings in low-dimensional systems.
Project description:Differentiated PC12 cells were magnetically labeled with magnetic nanoparticles (MNP). External magnetic fields were used to mechanically stretch the MNP-labeled neurites. We found that mechanical stretching of the neurites induces mass addition and neurite elongation. We performed RNAseq of MNP-labelled cells in stretched versus non-stretched conditions and we did not found gene expression dysregulation, confirming that the two conditions were identical and excluding cytotoxicity or involvement of nuclear mechanotransdution. Indeed, local mechanisms triggered by the stretching of the MNP-labelled neurite would be responsible for neurite elongation. Overall design: mRNA profile in stretched versus non stretched cells were generated by NGS, in triplicate, using Illumina.
Project description:We report that long double-stranded DNA confined to quasi-1D nanochannels undergoes superdiffusive motion under the action of the enzyme T4 DNA ligase in the presence of necessary co-factors. Inside the confined environment of the nanochannel, double-stranded DNA molecules stretch out due to self-avoiding interactions. In absence of a catalytically active enzyme, we see classical diffusion of the center of mass. However, cooperative interactions of proteins with the DNA can lead to directed motion of DNA molecules inside the nanochannel. Here we show directed motion in this configuration for three different proteins (T4 DNA ligase, MutS, E. coli DNA ligase) in the presence of their energetic co-factors (ATP, NAD+).
Project description:With gene expression profiling it was aimed to identify the differentially expressed genes associated with the regulation of the cytoskeleton to investigate the stretch-induced cell alignment mechanism. A whole genome microarray based analysis of the stretch-induced gene expression changes was done. Gene expression was measured at the beginning of the alignment process showing first reoriented cells after 5 h stretching and at the end after 24 h, where nearly all cells are aligned. Cyclic mechanical stretching of cells results in cellular alignment perpendicular to the stretch direction regulating cellular response. This stress response is assumed to be an adaptation mechanism to reduce extensive stretching but also acts as architectural restructuring changing performance and biomechanics of the tissue. Gene expression profiling of control vs. stretched primary human dermal fibroblasts after 5 h and 24 h demonstrated the regulation of differentially expressed genes associated with metabolism, differentiation and morphology. Primary human dermal fibroblasts from ten donors were cultured on Bioflex culture plates and stretched for 5h and 24 h or left untreated to avoid changes according to cell culturing. Each of the subject provided 4 samples (control/treated and 5hrs/24hrs) resulting in 40 samples total.
Project description:Much of modern biology relies on the strategic manipulation of molecules for creating ordered arrays prior to high throughput molecular analysis. Normally, DNA arrays involve deposition on surfaces, or confinement in nanochannels; however, we show that microfluidic devices can present stretched molecules within a controlled flow in ways complementing surface modalities, or extreme confinement conditions. Here we utilize pressure-driven oscillatory shear flows generated in microchannels as a new way of stretching DNA molecules for imaging "arrays" of individual DNA molecules. Fluid shear effects both stretch DNA molecules and cause them to migrate away from the walls becoming focused in the centerline of a channel. We show experimental findings confirming simulations using Brownian dynamics accounting for hydrodynamic interactions between molecules and channel-flow boundary conditions. Our findings characterize DNA elongation and migration phenomena as a function of molecular size, shear rate, oscillatory frequency with comparisons to computer simulation studies.
Project description:Combinations of 2D materials with different physical properties can form heterostructures with modified electrical, mechanical, magnetic, and optical properties. The direct observation of a lateral heterostructure synthesis is reported by epitaxial in-plane graphene growth from the step-edge of hexagonal BN (h-BN) within a scanning transmission electron microscope chamber. Residual hydrocarbon in the chamber is the carbon source. The growth interface between h-BN and graphene is atomically identified as largely N-C bonds. This postgrowth method can form graphene nanoribbons connecting two h-BN domains with different twisting angles, as well as isolated carbon islands with arbitrary shapes embedded in the h-BN layer. The electronic properties of the vertically stacked h-BN/graphene heterostructures are investigated by electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS). Low-loss EELS analysis of the dielectric response suggests a robust coupling effect between the graphene and h-BN layers.