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Genetically optimized Tobacco mosaic viruses as scaffold for the in vitro generation of semiconductor bio/metal-oxide nanostructured architectures


Professor Dr. Joachim Bill, Universität Stuttgart; Institut für Materialwissenschaft, 3. Lehrstuhl, Heisenbergstraße 3, 70569 Stuttgart,

Dr. Sabine Eiben, Universität Stuttgart; Biologisches Institut, Abteilung Molekularbiologie und Virologie der Pflanzen, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart,

Professor Dr. Holger Jeske,Universität Stuttgart; Biologisches Institut, Abteilung Molekularbiologie und Virologie der Pflanzen, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart;

Professor Dr. Jörg J. Schneider,Technische Universität Darmstadt; Eduard Zintl-Institut für Anorganische und Physikalische Chemie, Fachgebiet Anorganische Chemie, Petersenstraße 18, 64287 Darmstadt,


The goal of this project is to establish a mild protein-based biomineralization process for the formation of defined layered semiconductors which can be employed for the production of electrical devices like field-effect transistors (FET) or sensors. To this aim, an in vitro assembly approach using different genetically modified Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) coat proteins as protein LEGO® for the generation of surface-modified virus-like reactive rods and fibers as structure-directing 1D scaffold will be applied. Chemical bath deposition (CBD) methods for the synthesis of the semiconducting metal oxides starting with ZnO, SnO2and CdO will be developed which are compatible with these genetically modified TMV templates at close to ambient conditions. Moreover, layer thickness, surface roughness and crystallinity of these semiconductor metal oxides are sought to be optimized and characterized. Finally, device measurements in metal oxide FET geometry (MOSFET) with TMVmutant/inorganic semiconductor hybrids will be studied. This device application needs the characterization of the new TMV/inorganic hybrid materials with respect to their electrical properties and FET characteristics. We will finally be able to tune and optimize these properties via the applied biomineralization process (surface properties of the scaffold, particle size, deposition conditions, alignment) which will finally guide the material performance of the new bio-nano FET-devices.



Schematic representation of the two alignment procedures for the TMV/inorganic hybrid materials employed in this program task.

a) TMV/metal oxide suspensions will be entrained between a glass slide and the FET surface at a fixed angle. The entrained meniscus when moving across the FET surface deposits the TMV hybrid material in an ordered fashion [1]; b) a PDMS stamp is loaded with a TMV/metal oxide hybrid suspension, whereas the suspension is deposited in the grooves of the stamp. Contact printing delivers the suspensions by capillary forces to the FET substrate in an aligned manner [2]; c) schematic representation of the desired FET device geometry with the aligned TMV/metal oxide hybrid arranged between source and drain of the FET [3]

[1] Kuncicky, D.M., Naik, R.R., et al., Small, 2006. 2(12): p. 1462-1466
[2] Horn, A., Hiltl, S., et al., Small, 2010. 6(19): p. 2122-2125
[3] Hoffmann, R.C., Atanasova, P., et al., Phys. Status Sol. A., 2011. 208(4): p. 1-6


Schematic of a FET substrate with TMV (green) between drain and source. The blue particles indicate the ZnO layer connecting the electrodes.


AFM and TEM images of ZnO mineralized TMV particles