We present the evolution of current-voltage characteristics measured on linear fragments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules as a function of their length. The nonlinear behavior systematically observed at room temperature and also reported on circular plasmids suggests that the more molecules are involved in the conduction process, the higher are the current values measured. At the same time, a characteristic steplike feature superimposed to an overall increasing background appears more pronounced. We interpret this behavior in terms of simultaneous coherent and incoherent transport processes, the former taking place inside the DNA molecule, the latter through the network of molecules. Following our previous analysis on circular molecules, a phenomenological model is developed, in which a tunneling current with an energy dependent transmission coefficient is superimposed to a hopping current. The model provides a semiquantitative evidence that the steplike feature represents the signature of charge transmission inside the molecule. Our results are consistent with many of the conductivity data present in the literature. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
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