We synthesised silica nanoparticles (SiNP) with covalently linked cationic surface modifications and demonstrated their ability to electrostatically bind, condense and protect plasmid DNA. These particles might be utilised as DNA carriers for gene delivery. All nanoparticles were sized between 10 and 100 nm and displayed surface charge potentials from +7 to +31 mV at pH 7.4. They were produced by modification of commercially available (IPAST) or in-house synthesised silica particles with either N-(2-aminoethyl)-3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane or N-(6-aminohexyl)-3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane. All particles formed complexes with pCMVbeta plasmid DNA as evidenced by ratio dependent retardation of DNA in the agarose gel and co-sedimentation of soluble DNA with nanoparticles. High salt and alkaline pH did inhibit complex formation. Absorption onto the particles also decreased the hydrodynamic dimensions of plasmid DNA as shown by photon correlation spectroscopy. Complexes formed in water at a w/w ratio of Si26H:DNA (pCMVbeta) of 300 were smallest with a mean hydrodynamic diameter of 83 nm. For effective condensation a w/w ratio of Si26H:DNA of 30 was sufficient. Further, the absorbed DNA was protected from enzymatic degradation by DNase I.