This website is no longer updated.

As of 1.10.2022, the Faculty of Physics has been merged into the TUM School of Natural Sciences with the website For more information read Conversion of Websites.

de | en

DNA Biophysics and DNA Nanotechnology

Module PH2005

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2012/3 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2012/3WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2005 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 40 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2005 is Friedrich Simmel.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


The course provides an introduction to the biophysical and biochemical bases of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) and the production of artificial biomolecular nanosystems.

Part I: Biophysics of DNA
- Chemical structure of DNA
- DNA as a polymer
- DNA as a polyelectrolyte
- DNA thermodynamics and kinetics
- Secondary structure
- DNA topology
- Experimental methods

Part II: Bionanotechnology with DNA
- Structural DNA Nanotechnology: DNA lattices, crystals, DNA origami
- Molecular machines made ​​of DNA: molecular switches, motors, "robots"
- DNA computing and molecular programming
- Molecular evolution and functional nucleic acids

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module, the student is able to

1) explain and apply the physical properties of DNA
2) explain the most important experimental techniques for the study of DNA structures
3) understand and explain the most common methods for the preparation of biomolecular nanostructures from DNA and explain
4) understand and explain the physical requirements for the function of molecular machines
5) understand and explain the basic principles of molecular information processing with DNA molecules
6) understand the highly interdisciplinary research and literature in this area


The course has no special requirements beyond that of the masters program. We recommend a basic knowledge of molecular biophysics, statistical physics and biochemistry.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Bio-Nano Technology Simmel, F. Thu, 12:15–13:45, ZNN 2.003

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lecture, beamer presentation, blackboard calculations, discussions


Das Modul besteht aus einer Vorlesung (2 SWS) und einem thematisch verbundenen Seminar (2 SWS). Die Inhalte der Vorlesungen werden durch Tafelvorträge, Beamer-Präsentationen oder Lehrfilme vermittelt. Zusätzlich wird den Studierenden ein begleitendes Vorlesungsskript zugänglich gemacht. Die Studierenden ergänzen die Informationen aus Vorlesung und Skript durch die Arbeit mit zusätzlicher Literatur und wissenschaftlichen Fachartikeln. Für das Seminar bereitet jede(r) Teilnehmer/in unter Anleitung eines wissenschaftlichen Mitarbeiters einen Vortrag von 30 Minuten über ein spezifisches Gebiet der Bionanophysik vor, an den sich eine etwa 20-minütige Dsikussionsrunde anschließt. Auf einer begleitenden Webseite werden Lernmaterialien zur Verfügung gestellt: Vorlesungsskript und Verweise auf ergänzende Literatur.


Standard textbooks of biophysics:

  • P. Nelson: Biological Physics (Freeman, 2004)
  • R. Phillips et al.: Physical Biology of the Cell (Garland Science, 2008)

Standard textbooks of biochemistry:

  • L. Stryer, Biochemistry (Freeman, 2007)

More specialized

  • Bloomfield, Nucleic Acids

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 60 minutes.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

Top of page