Origin of nanomechanical cantilever motion generated from biomolecular interactions

Guanghua Wu, Haifeng Ji, Karolyn Hansen, Thomas Thundat, Ram Datar, Richard Cote, Michael F. Hagan, Arup K. Chakraborty, Arunava Majumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

468 Scopus citations


Generation of nanomechanical cantilever motion from biomolecular interactions can have wide applications, ranging from high-throughput biomolecular detection to bioactuation. Although it has been suggested that such motion is caused by changes in surface stress of a cantilever beam, the origin of the surface-stress change has so far not been elucidated. By using DNA hybridization experiments, we show that the origin of motion lies in the interplay between changes in configurational entropy and inter-molecular energetics induced by specific biomolecular interactions. By controlling entropy change during DNA hybridization, the direction of cantilever motion can be manipulated. These thermodynamic principles were also used to explain the origin of motion generated from protein-ligand binding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1560-1564
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 13 2001


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