Playing the notes of DNA with light: extremely high frequency nanomechanical oscillations.

Research paper by Abhay A Kotnala, Skyler S Wheaton, Reuven R Gordon

Indexed on: 15 Jan '15Published on: 15 Jan '15Published in: Nanoscale


We use a double nanohole (DNH) optical tweezer with two trapping lasers beating to excite the vibrational modes of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) fragments in the extremely high frequency range. We find the resonant vibration frequency of a 20 base ssDNA to be 40 GHz. We show that the change in the resonant frequency for different lengths of the DNA strand is in good agreement with one dimensional lattice vibration theory. Thus the DNH tweezer system could distinguish between different lengths of DNA strands with resolution down to a few bases. By varying the base sequence and length, it is possible to adjust the resonance frequency vibration spectrum. The technique shows the potential for use in sequencing applications if we can improve the resolution of the present system to detect changes in resonant frequency for a single base change in a given sequence. The technique is single-molecule and label-free as compared to the existing methods used for DNA characterization like gel electrophoresis.