Challenges and opportunities for structural DNA nanotechnology

Nat Nanotechnol. 2011 Nov 6;6(12):763-72. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2011.187.


DNA molecules have been used to build a variety of nanoscale structures and devices over the past 30 years, and potential applications have begun to emerge. But the development of more advanced structures and applications will require a number of issues to be addressed, the most significant of which are the high cost of DNA and the high error rate of self-assembly. Here we examine the technical challenges in the field of structural DNA nanotechnology and outline some of the promising applications that could be developed if these hurdles can be overcome. In particular, we highlight the potential use of DNA nanostructures in molecular and cellular biophysics, as biomimetic systems, in energy transfer and photonics, and in diagnostics and therapeutics for human health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomimetic Materials / chemistry
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanotechnology / economics
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*


  • DNA