In recent years, DNA nanotechnology has matured to enable robust production of complex nanostructures and hybrid materials. We have combined DNA nanotechnology with sensitive optical detection to create functional single-molecule devices that enable new applications in single-molecule biosensing and superresolution microscopy. Starting with superresolution nanorulers and brightness reference samples we determined the resolving power of superresolution microscopes and evaluated the sensitivity of smartphone cameras. To improve the sensitivity we created DNA origami optical antennas for metal enhanced fluorescence. The unique ability of our DNA origami nanoantennas to place molecular assays specifically in the plasmonic hotspot is used for detecting Zika-virus nucleic acids. The fluorescence enhancement is further exploited to achieve ultra-sensitive detection on low-cost devices such as a modified smartphone leading to the democratization of single-molecule detection.
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