Long-range charge hopping in DNA

M. Bixon, Bernd Giese, Stephan Wessely, Thomas Langenbacher, Maria E. Michel-Beyerle, Joshua Jortner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fundamental mechanisms of charge migration in DNA are pertinent for current developments in molecular electronics and electrochemistry-based chip technology. The energetic control of hole (positive ion) multistep hopping transport in DNA proceeds via the guanine, the nucleobase with the lowest oxidation potential. Chemical yield data for the relative reactivity of the guanine cations and of charge trapping by a triple guanine unit in one of the strands quantify the hopping, trapping, and chemical kinetic parameters. The hole-hopping rate for superexchange-mediated interactions via two intervening AT base pairs is estimated to be 109 s-1 at 300 K. We infer that the maximal distance for hole hopping in the duplex with the guanine separated by a single AT base pair is 300 ± 70 Å. Although we encounter constraints for hole transport in DNA emerging from the number of the mediating AT base pairs, electron transport is expected to be nearly sequence independent because of the similarity of the reduction potentials of the thymine and of the cytosine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11713-11716
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - 12 Oct 1999


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