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NameMiss Catherine Munro
OrganizationUniversity of Miami
TopicMaterials Chemisry

Peptide Sequence Effects Control the Single Pot Reduction, Nucleation, and Growth of Au Nanoparticles


Catherine J. Munro1, Zak E. Hughes2, Tiffany R. Walsh,2 and Marc R. Knecht1,*

Author Location(s)

1 Department of Chemistry, University of Miami, 1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, Florida 33146, United States.
2 Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3216, Australia.


The molecular recognition properties of peptides play an integral part in the self-assembly of noble metal materials through non-covalent interactions of the growing inorganic surface in solution. Here we demonstrate the biomolecules complete control of Au particle synthesis from complexation through reduction, nucleation, growth and passivation without the use of an exogenous reducing agent. Using gold specific peptides with tryptophan residues, spontaneous Au3+ reduction to colloidal AuNPs occurs. Mutated and rearranged peptide sequences indicate that localized residue context effects with respect to tryptophan control the reduction capacity of the biomolecule and computational studies show there is little impact of the oxidized biomolecule, thought to be kynurenine, on the inorganic surface. The material synthesis was fully monitored by time resolved growth of the localized surface plasmon resonance as well as transmission electron microscopy (TEM). This work confirms that biomolecules can be exploited for all steps of nanoparticle fabrication and expand the utility of peptides for the fabrication of inorganic materials that better mimic the biomineralization process. These capabilities enhance the simplicity of nanoparticle production and could find rapid use in the generation of complex multicomponent materials or nanoparticle assembly.