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Dr. Ashwin Gopinath is a research scientist in the department of bioengineering at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena where his research is at the intersection of DNA nanotechnology, micro-fabrication, synthetic biology and material-science. Prior to Caltech, Ashwin obtained his B.E degree from the Visvesvaraya Technological University (India) in 2005, and his PhD in from Boston University in 2010. Dr. Gopinath has co-authored 21 papers in journals like Nature, Science and PNAS as well as received several awards, most recent of which is the Robert Dirk Prize in Molecular programming for his seminal contributions in merging DNA nanotechnology with conventional semiconductor nanofabrication.
DNA: The bridge from top to bottom
Conventional top-down nanofabrication, over the last six decades, has enabled almost all the electronic and optical nanodevices that forms the foundation of our society. Parallel efforts in understanding bottom-up self-assembly processes, like those found in nature, have also enabled nanostructures like quantum dots, carbon nanotubes and designed bio- molecules that possess technologically relevant properties unattainable within structures built top-down. While both these approaches have independently matured, ongoing efforts to create “hybrid nanodevices” combining both strategies have been fraught with challenges. The main roadblock being the absence of a reliable technical framework for organizing self-assembled components within, or with respect to, structures fabricated top-down.
In this talk, I will introduce the general idea of self-assembly as a fabrication technique, specifically focusing on the rapidly developing field of DNA nanotechnology. I will then survey the landscape of DNA nanodevices currently being developed with the aim of transforming electronics, optics, molecular diagnostics and therapeutics. Finally, I conclude by presenting my vision of various applications that are uniquely enabled by the merger of top-down and bottom-up nanofabrication through DNA nanotechnology.