Journal of Physical Chemistry B

Tribological effects on DNA translocation in a nanochannel coated with a self-assembled monolayer

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A biomimetic nanochannel coated with a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) can be used for sensing and analyzing biomolecules. The interaction between a transported biomolecule and a SAM governs the mechanically or electrically driven motion of the molecule. To investigate the translocation dynamics of a biomolecule, we performed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations on a single-stranded DNA in a solidstate nanochannel coated with a SAM that consists of octane or octanol polymers. Simulation results demonstrate that the interaction between DNA and a hydrophobic or a hydrophilic SAM is effectively repulsive or adhesive, respectively, resulting in different translocation dynamics of DNA. Therefore, with proper designs of SAMs coated on a channel surface, it is possible to control the translocation dynamics of a biomolecule. This work also demonstrates that traditional tribology methods can be deployed to study a biological or biomimetic transport process.s © 2010 American Chemical Society.