Solution, surface, and single molecule platforms for the study of DNA-mediated charge transport
The structural core of DNA, a continuous stack of aromatic heterocycles, the base pairs, which extends down the helical axis, gives rise to the fascinating electronic properties of this molecule that is so critical for life. Our laboratory and others have developed diverse experimental platforms to investigate the capacity of DNA to conduct charge, termed DNA-mediated charge transport (DNA CT). Here, we present an overview of DNA CT experiments in solution, on surfaces, and with single molecules that collectively provide a broad and consistent perspective on the essential characteristics of this chemistry. DNA CT can proceed over long molecular distances but is remarkably sensitive to perturbations in base pair stacking. We discuss how this foundation, built with data from diverse platforms, can be used both to inform a mechanistic description of DNA CT and to inspire the next platforms for its study: living organisms and molecular electronics.