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Solution-based DNA-templating of sub-10 nm conductive copper nanowires

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Felix Zamora, Dr Scott Watson, Professor Nick Wright, Dr Ben Horrocks, Professor Andrew HoultonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Templating the electroless reduction of metal ions on DNA is now an established route to the preparation of nanowires and can be particularly useful for the formation of nanowires in the desirable <10 nm size range. However, different preparation conditions produce nanowires of widely different morphologies and conductivities. We describe a method for the synthesis of Cu nanowires in which electroless metal deposition is carried out on DNA 'template' molecules in bulk solution. Though analogous to previous surface-based routes, importantly this now produces conductive material. AFM was used to evaluate the size and morphology of the resulting nanowires; a mean nanowire diameter of 7.1 nm (standard deviation = 4.7 nm) was determined from a statistical analysis of 100 nanowires and the Cu coatings were continuous and smooth. These findings represent a notable improvement in nanowire morphology in comparison to the previous surface-based routes. UV-vis spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to confirm formation of Cu(0) metal takes place during nanowire synthesis, and additional scanning probe microscopy techniques were employed to probe the electrical properties of the nanowires. The nanowires are less conductive [resistivity similar to 2 Omega cm] than bulk Cu, but much more conductive than nanowires prepared by the analogous method on surface-bound DNA. Using an extension of our thermodynamic model for DNA-templating, we show that the templating process in bulk solution favours the formation of continuous nanowires compared to templating on surface-bound DNA.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pate J, Zamora F, Watson SMD, Wright NG, Horrocks BR, Houlton A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Materials Chemistry C

Year: 2014

Volume: 2

Issue: 43

Pages: 9265-9273

Print publication date: 21/11/2014

Online publication date: 25/09/2014

Acceptance date: 25/09/2014

Date deposited: 13/02/2015

ISSN (print): 2050-7526

ISSN (electronic): 2050-7534

Publisher: RSC Publications


DOI: 10.1039/c4tc01632g


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Funder referenceFunder name
Intel Ireland Ltd
Newcastle University