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NAME: Christian Warner
 

PROJECT TITLE: Synthesis and Characterization of DNA/Dendron Self-Assembled Monolayers on Gold

Several studies have been done thus far on characterizing DNA/Dendron conjugate monolayers on gold, but much is still not understood and has yet to be investigated.  First, the monolayer's exact packing density on the surface has not been accurately determined for all conjugates.  Calculations have been made based on previous experiments utilizing Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) in which the change in resonance angle was used to extrapolate a surface DNA strand density, but there were rough estimations made involving the conjugates' refractive index.  Also, the experimental, elemental composition of the Generation 5 dendron/DNA conjugate monolayer as determined by X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) varied significantly from the expected, relative abundance values.  This result points to a problem in the synthesis of the G5 monolayer specifically, seeing that the three other conjugate monolayers (G2-G4) yielded experimental XPS data similar to their theoretical values.  The discrepancy was most likely due to contamination or degradation of the G5 monolayer used for the XPS experiment in particular, so simply repeating the synthesis and measurements may give data following more closely the expected relative elemental abundance.  Moreover, there is a question of the stability of DNA/Dendron conjugate monolayers in relation to other methods of immobilizing single-stranded DNA on gold.  To explore this aspect of the monolayers, electrochemistry experiments will prove useful, allowing for the comparison of the solution-prepared DNA/Dendron conjugate monolayers and the various other synthesis methods.  It is expected that the DNA/Dendron conjugate monolayer, with a large number of attachment sites to the gold surface, will prove to be more robust than a DNA strand with a single attachment site.  Overall, there are several aspects of the DNA/Dendron conjugate monolayer that require further investigation before definitive claims can be made about the monolayer's level of stability and reproducibility.

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