A nanofluidic railroad switch for DNA

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We present a metamaterial consisting of a two-dimensional, asymmetric lattice of crossed nanochannels in fused silica, with channel diameters of 80 nm to 140 nm. When DNA is introduced, it is stretched and linearized. We show that the asymmetry in channel dimensions gives rise to a preferred direction for DNA orientation and a preferred direction for transport under dc electrophoresis. Interestingly, the preferred axis of orientation and transport can be switched by 90° through application of an ac voltage. We explain the results in terms of an energy landscape for polyelectrolytes that consists of entropic and dielectrophoretic contributions and whose strength and sign can be tuned by changing the ac field strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1973-1976
Number of pages4
JournalNano Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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