Andrew Turberfield works on synthetic nanostructures whose assembly is controlled through information encoded in the sequences of nucleic acid components. He was part of the team that introduced the actuation of molecular devices by cycles of DNA hybridization and competitive strand displacement and he invented the concept of catalytic control of DNA hybridization: these advances underpin most current research into dynamic DNA devices and DNA-based molecular computation. His group are exploring applications at the interface between the physical and life sciences. Their work on synthetic molecular machinery includes molecular motors, a ‘synthetic ribosome’ (genetically-programmed molecular machinery capable of sequence-controlled synthesis of non-biological polymers), and molecular robotic devices that combine autonomous sensing, computation, and actuation.
In his earlier career AJT pioneered the use of optical spectroscopies to study the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect in two-dimensional electron systems and, with Bob Denning, invented the holographic fabrication of three-dimensional photonic crystals.