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Established processes for the generation of technological inorganic materials are often limited by restrictions in view of fabrication, material composition, and properties. Miniaturized complex material assemblies with multifunctional properties are still a challenging manufacture task and the controlled adjustment of various properties is difficult.

Therefore, the implementation of biomineralization processes in technical fabrication processes will circumvent such limitations. Nanometer sized, complex bio-organic structures which are formed by self-assembly processes, can be used as templates for the mineralization of inorganic materials. An excellent advantage of such templates is the adjustment to the inorganic material by genetic modification which opens the way to control material structure and properties. Genetic engineered M13 bacteriophageoffer thereby the opportunity for architecting novel bio-nanomaterials based on the recognition of targeted materials on the molecular level.

The main objective of this proposal is to mineralize phage-templated inorganic nanomaterials and to tune the properties of such hybrid materials by the genetic modification of M13 phage templates. Envisioned are multilayer assemblies of ZnO/gold and TiO2/gold.

The following objectives shall be achieved in this project:

  • The genetic engineering of phage templates for the specific binding and mineralization of the inorganic materials ZnO, TiO2 and gold
  • Mineralization of ZnO, TiO2, and gold on functionalized M13 templates
  • Generation of organic-inorganic multilayer assemblies consisting of single materials (ZnO, TiO2, gold) and of the material combinations ZnO/gold and TiO2/gold
  • Revealing the mineralization mechanism of the inorganics on the phage templates
  • Evaluation of the nanostructure of the manufactured hybrid assemblies with particular focus on the phage-inorganic interfaces
  • Determination of the optical, piezoelectrical, electrical, and mechanical properties of phage-templated assemblies with regard to the genetic modification of the M13 phage template