Evolving biomolecular control and peptide specificity for the synthesis and assembly of II-VI semiconductor nanomaterials
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Peptides were selected using an evolutionary screening process utilizing engineered virus libraries to isolated peptides that recognized, nucleated and controlled II-VI semiconductor materials. Specifically, materials screened for this project included polycrystalline and single crystal surfaces of ZnS, CdS, PbS, and ZnSe. Once a positive peptide recognition sequence was isolated using phage display screening, the population of peptides found for ZnS or CdS were successfully tested to decipher relative binding affinities, results that further verified the consensus motifs identified. The peptides selected were then used to nucleate nanocrystals, specifically controlling nanoparticle sizes and directing crystal phases of ZnS and CdS. The ZnS-specific A7 and Z8 peptides were isolated from virus screenings of ZnS and tested for ZnS nucleation ability. Upon HRTEM analysis of the resultant nanocrystals, two different phases of ZnS were grown in the presence of A7 and Z8. A7 directed the wurtzite structure crystal phase of ZnS while Z8 directed the sphalerite crystal phase of ZnS. Two CdS-specific peptides, J140 and J182, were isolated from virus screenings of CdS and were further tested, not only for their CdS recognition ability, but for their CdS nucleating ability. Upon HRTEM analysis of the resultant nanocrystals, two different phases of CdS were grown in the presence of J140 and J182, a trend parallel to that seen with ZnS specific phage grown nanocrystals. J140 directed the wurtzite structure crystal phase while J182 directed the zinc blende crystal phase. Further, orientation of the materials using display of the specific peptides as fusions on the viral protein coat indicated that relative order of nanocrystals over several hundred nanometers could be achieved, while maintaining the crystal phase and size selectivity that was seen on the smaller scale.