MEMS Seminar: "DNA Origami: The Bridge to the Bottom"

Oct 30

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dr. Ashwin Gopinath


Dr. Ashwin Gopinath | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Conventional top-down nanofabrication, over the last six decades, has enabled almost all the complex electronic, optical and micro-fluidic devices that form the foundation of our society. Parallel efforts, exploring bottom-up self-assembly processes, have also enabled design and synthesis of structures like quantum dots, carbon nanotubes and unique bio-molecules that possess technologically relevant proper- ties unachievable top-down. While both these approaches have independently matured, ongoing efforts to create “hybrid nanostructures” combining both strategies, has been fraught with technical challenges. The main roadblock is the absence of a scalable method to deterministically organize components built bottom-up within top-down nanofabricated structures.

In this talk, I will first introduce a directed self-assembly technique that utilizes DNA origami1 as a molecular adaptor to modularly position, and orient, bottom-up nano-components (like quantum dots, light emitters and proteins) within top-down nanofabricated devices.2 I will then present experimental results demonstrating the utility of the technique to achieved absolute, arbitrarily scalable, control over the integration of discrete emitters inside optical devices.3,4 Finally, I conclude by presenting my vision of how a DNA origami based bridge between top-down and bottom-up nanofabrication can enable a range of highly transformative, and functional, devices. Specifically, I will present data demonstrating arrays of single-photon sources, method for extremely economical nanotexturing as well as a modular molecular interface between biology and solid-state.

Ashwin Gopinath joined MIT in Jan 2019 as an assistant professor in the Mechanical engineering department where his lab is working on projects at the intersection of molecular self-assembly, surface- chemistry, top-down nanofabrication and synthetic biology. Dr. Gopinath got his Phd in electrical engineering from Boston University, in 2010, for his work on understanding light transport in disordered media. Subsequently, he was a senior research scientist at Caltech and then at Google [X]. His research involves developing tools to organize single molecules/atoms using standard micro-fabrication tools in the service of developing high-throughput molecular diagnostic platforms, components for quantum computation and more-than-moore devices.

Part of his research also deals with developing predictive algorithms based on longitudinal timevarying data. Dr. Gopinath has co-authored 21 papers in journals like Nature, Science and PNAS as well as received several awards, most recent of which is the 2017 Robert Dirk Prize in Molecular programming for his seminal contributions in merging DNA nanotechnology with conventional semiconductor nanofabrication.

Lunch will be served at 11:30 am.

Hosted by Dr. Gaurav Arya