Toward three-dimensional DNA industrial nanorobots

Sci Robot. 2023 Dec 6;8(85):eadf1274. doi: 10.1126/scirobotics.adf1274. Epub 2023 Dec 6.


Nanoscale industrial robots have potential as manufacturing platforms and are capable of automatically performing repetitive tasks to handle and produce nanomaterials with consistent precision and accuracy. We demonstrate a DNA industrial nanorobot that fabricates a three-dimensional (3D), optically active chiral structure from optically inactive parts. By making use of externally controlled temperature and ultraviolet (UV) light, our programmable robot, ~100 nanometers in size, grabs different parts, positions and aligns them so that they can be welded, releases the construct, and returns to its original configuration ready for its next operation. Our robot can also self-replicate its 3D structure and functions, surpassing single-step templating (restricted to two dimensions) by using folding to access the third dimension and more degrees of freedom. Our introduction of multiple-axis precise folding and positioning as a tool/technology for nanomanufacturing will open the door to more complex and useful nano- and microdevices.

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry
  • Nanostructures* / chemistry
  • Robotics* / methods


  • DNA