Electrochemical nanomoulding through proteins
Allred, Daniel B., 1974-
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The continued improvements in performance of modern electronic devices are directly related to the manufacturing of smaller, denser features on surfaces. Electrochemical fabrication has played a large role in continuing this trend due to its low cost and ease of scaleability toward ever smaller dimensions. This work introduces the concept of using proteins, essentially monodisperse complex polymers whose three-dimensional structures are fixed by their encoded amino acid sequences, as "moulds" around which nanostructures can be built by electrochemical fabrication.Bacterial cell-surface layer proteins, or "S-layer" proteins, from two organisms---Deinococcus radiodurans and Sporosarcina ureae---were used as the "moulds" for electrochemical fabrication. The proteins are easily purified as micron-sized sheets of periodic molecular complexes with 18-nm hexagonal and 13-nm square unit cell lattices, respectively. Direct imaging by transmission electron microscopy on ultrathin noble metal films without sample preparation eliminates potential artifacts to the high surface energy substrates necessary for high nucleation densities. Characterization involved imaging, electron diffraction, spectroscopy, and three-dimensional reconstruction. The S-layer protein of D. radiodurans was further subjected to an atomic force microscope based assay to determine the integrity of its structure and long-range order and was found to be useful for fabrication from around pH 3 to 12.
- Chemical engineering