A RNA-based nanodevice recording temperature over time

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Nucleic acids provide a wealth of interesting properties that can find important applications in nanotechnology. In this article we describe a concept of how to use RNA for temperature measurements. In particular the principal components of a nanodevice are outlined that works on the basis of RNA secondary structure rearrangement. The major mode of operation is a hairpin-coil transition occurring at different temperatures for different types of short RNA oligonucleotides. Coupling these events to a detection system based on specific RNA hybridization provides the framework for a nanodevice capable of temperature records as a function of time. The analysis is carried out with the help of a statistical mechanics package that has been specifically designed to study RNA secondary structure. The procedure yields an optimized list of eight RNA sequences operational in the range from -10 to 60 °C. The data can form the basis of a new technology of potential interest to many fields of process and quality control. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Chemical Physics