In this paper, we report the metallization of a dsDNA template using a novel photography-derived two-step strategy in which dsDNA is first complexed with Ag(I) ions and then irradiated with UV light at 254 nm. The nucleobases act as light harvesters and sensitizers, triggering the photoreduction of the complexed silver ions. This process yields a silver nanoparticles blueprint along the DNA strand. The silver latent image is then developed by depositing metallic nickel through an electroless plating process. This photography-derived procedure generates very homogeneous and evenly distributed strings of silver-core/nickel-shell nanoparticles. Although still discontinuous, we believe that such chains can serve as the base for obtaining continuous metal nanowires. Furthermore, this process can most likely be extended to other plating metals, resulting in a broadly general procedure for metallizing DNA with a variety of different materials. Because of the intrinsic simplicity in using light as the key step, this methodology might be amenable to large-scale development, eventually leading to a very efficient molecular-photolithography process.
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