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  1. Abstract Single molecule force spectroscopy is a powerful approach to probe the structure, conformational changes, and kinetic properties of biological and synthetic macromolecules. However, common approaches to apply forces to biomolecules require expensive and cumbersome equipment and relatively large probes such as beads or cantilevers, which limits their use for many environments and makes integrating with other methods challenging. Furthermore, existing methods have key limitations such as an inability to apply compressive forces on single molecules. We report a nanoscale DNA force spectrometer (nDFS), which is based on a DNA origami hinge with tunable mechanical and dynamic properties. The angular free energy landscape of the nDFS can be engineered across a wide range through substitution of less than 5% of the strand components. We further incorporate a removable strut that enables reversible toggling of the nDFS between open and closed states to allow for actuated application of tensile and compressive forces. We demonstrate the ability to apply compressive forces by inducing a large bend in a 249bp DNA molecule, and tensile forces by inducing DNA unwrapping of a nucleosome sample. These results establish a versatile tool for force spectroscopy and robust methods for designing nanoscale mechanical devices with tunable forcemore »application.« less
  2. Dynamic DNA nanotechnology involves the creation of nanoscale devices made of DNA whose primary function arises from their ability to undergo controlled motion or reconfiguration. In the past two decades, dynamic DNA nanotechnology has evolved to the point where it is now being employed in devices intended for applications in sensing, drug delivery, computation, nanorobotics, and more. In this review article, we discuss the design of dynamic DNA nanodevices and the characterization and prediction of device behavior. We also identify a number of continuing challenges in dynamic DNA nanotechnology and discuss potential solutions to those challenges.