Direct measurement of electrical transport through DNA molecules

Danny Porath, Alexey Bezryadin, Simon De Vries, Cees Dekker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1633 Scopus citations


Attempts to infer DNA electron transfer from fluorescence quenching measurements on DNA strands doped with donor and acceptor molecules have spurred intense debate over the question of whether or not this important biomolecule is able to conduct electrical charges. More recently, first electrical transport measurements on micrometre-long DNA 'ropes', and also on large numbers of DNA molecules in films, have indicated that DNA behaves as a good linear conductor. Here we present measurements of electrical transport through individual 10.4-nm-long, double-stranded poly(G)-poly(C) DNA molecules connected to two metal nanoelectrodes, that indicate, by contrast, large-bandgap semiconducting behaviour. We obtain nonlinear current-voltage curves that exhibit a voltage gap at low applied bias. This is observed in air as well as in vacuum down to cryogenic temperatures. The voltage dependence of the differential conductance exhibits a peak structure, which is suggestive of the charge carrier transport being mediated by the molecular energy bands of DNA.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)635-638
Number of pages4
Issue number6770
StatePublished - 10 Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes


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