Nanorobotics (2013), pp. 355-382
Harish Chandran, Nikhil Gopalkrishnan, John H. Reif
This chapter overviews the current state of the emerging discipline of DNA nanorobotics that make use of synthetic DNA to self-assemble operational molecular-scale devices. Recently there have been a series of quite astonishing experimental results—which have taken the technology from a state of intriguing possibilities into demonstrated capabilities of quickly increasing scale and complexity. We first state the challenges in molecular robotics and discuss why DNA as a nanoconstruction material is ideally suited to overcome these. We then review the design and demonstration of a wide range of molecular-scale devices; from DNA nanomachines that change conformation in response to their environment to DNA walkers that can be programmed to walk along predefined paths on nanostructures while carrying cargo or performing computations, to tweezers that can repeatedly switch states. We conclude by listing major challenges in the field along with some possible future directions.