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Title: Multicomponent Protein Cage Architectures for Photocatalysis

The primary goal of the project was to develop protein-templated approaches for the synthesis and directed assembly of semiconductor nanomaterials that are efficient for visible light absorption and hydrogen production. In general, visible-light-driven photocatalysis reactions exhibit low quantum efficiency for solar energy conversion primarily because of materials-related issues and limitations, such as the control of the band gap, band structure, photochemical stability, and available reactive surface area of the photocatalyst. Synthesis of multicomponent hierarchical nano-architectures, consisting of semiconductor nanoparticles (NPs) with desired optical properties fabricated to maximize spatial proximity for optimum electron and energy transfer represents an attractive route for addressing the problem. Virus capsids are highly symmetrical, self-assembling protein cage nanoparticles that exist in a range of sizes and symmetries. Selective deposition of inorganic, by design, at specific locations on virus capsids affords precise control over the size, spacing, and assembly of nanomaterials, resulting in uniform and reproducible nano-architectures. We utilized the self-assembling capabilities of the 420 subunit, 60 nm icosahedral, P22 virus capsid to direct the nucleation, growth, and proximity of a range of component materials. Controlled fabrication on the exterior of the temperature stable shell was achieved by genetically encoding specific binding peptides into an externally exposedmore » loop which is displayed on each of the 420 coat protein subunits. Localization of complimentary materials to the interior of the particle was achieved through the use “scaffolding-fusion proteins. The scaffolding domain drives coat protein polymerization resulting in a coat protein shell surrounding a core of approximately 300 scaffolding/fusion molecules. The fusion domain comprises a peptide which specifically binds the semiconductor material of interest.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL (United States)
  2. Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham, AL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 08 HYDROGEN; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE Photocatalysis; Biotemplate; Nanonocrystals; Semiconductor