Effects of Electromagnetic Field on the Electrical Properties of DNA Molecular Wires

by Varsha Ramesh

Institution: San Diego State University
Year: 2015
Record ID: 2058210
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/134834


Fabrication process for semiconductor electronics is approaching the barriers set by the fundamental laws of physics. Alternative technologies for implementing long term molecular wires in electronics such as deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) continue to be pursued. In this thesis, we investigate the long-term electrical properties of double-stranded λ-DNA during exposure of electromagnetic and electrostatic fields to DNA. While there is no specific theory and mechanism on how electromagnetic fields affect DNA, some research has shown damage to DNA while some have given negative results. All the studies have been conducted on cells and DNA damage is believed to be caused by multiple factors. Even small structural alterations in DNA is likely to cause changes in electrical readings. In this research, DNA is suspended between two 3-dimensional microelectrodes, which are separated by a 10 micron gap, fabricated using negative lithography. Afterwards, separate samples were exposed to electromagnetic field of 4.11E-10 eV energy. DNA was also exposed to high voltage directly to test its properties due to internal field. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) was done on electrostatic field exposed DNA. Experimental results showed that the electrical conductivity of DNA decreased with high exposure time. FTIR confirmed the structural changes that happened in DNA due to exposure to electrostatic fields.