Controlled synthesis of highly-branched plasmonic gold nanoparticles through peptoid engineering


In nature, specific biomolecules interacting with mineral precursors are responsible for the precise production of nanostructured inorganic materials that exhibit complex morphologies and superior performance. Despite advances in developing biomimetic approaches, the design rules for creating sequence-defined molecules that lead to the synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials with predictable complex morphologies are unknown. Herein we report the design of sequence-defined peptoids for controlled synthesis of highly branched plasmonic gold particles. By engineering peptoid sequences and investigating the resulting particle formation mechanisms, we develop a rule of thumb for designing peptoids that predictively enabled the morphological evolution from spherical to coral-shaped nanoparticles. Through a combination of hyperspectral UV-Vis extinction microscopy and three-photon photoemission electron microscopy, we demonstrate that the individual coral-shaped gold nanoparticles exhibit a plasmonic enhancement as high as 105-fold. This research significantly advances our ultimate vision of predictive bio-inspired materials synthesis using sequence-defined synthetic molecules that mimic proteins and peptides.


© 2018 The Author(s). cc-by



Yan, F., Liu, L., Walsh, T.R., Gong, Y., El-Khoury, P.Z., Zhang, Y., Zhu, Z., De, Yoreo, J.J., Engelhard, M.H., Zhang, X., & Chen, C.-L.. 2018. Controlled synthesis of highly-branched plasmonic gold nanoparticles through peptoid engineering. Nature Communications, 9(1).