Bio-recognitive photonics of a DNA-guided organic semiconductor

Seung Hyuk Back, Jin Hyuk Park, Chunzhi Cui, Dong June Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Incorporation of duplex DNA with higher molecular weights has attracted attention for a new opportunity towards a better organic light-emitting diode (OLED) capability. However, biological recognition by OLED materials is yet to be addressed. In this study, specific oligomeric DNA-DNA recognition is successfully achieved by tri (8-hydroxyquinoline) aluminium (Alq3), an organic semiconductor. Alq3 rods crystallized with guidance from single-strand DNA molecules show, strikingly, a unique distribution of the DNA molecules with a shape of an 'inverted' hourglass. The crystal's luminescent intensity is enhanced by 1.6-fold upon recognition of the perfect-matched target DNA sequence, but not in the case of a single-base mismatched one. The DNA-DNA recognition forming double-helix structure is identified to occur only in the rod's outer periphery. This study opens up new opportunities of Alq3, one of the most widely used OLED materials, enabling biological recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10234
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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