April 4, 2024
Journal Article

Anisotropic Gold Nanomaterial Synthesis Using Peptide Facet Specificity and Timed Intervention


Thin metal particles with two-dimensional symmetry are attractive for multiple ap- plications, but are difficult to synthesize in a reproducible manner. Although molecules that selectively adsorb to facets have been used to control nanoparticle shape, there is still limited research into the temporal control of growth processes to control these structural outcomes. Moreover, much of the current research into the growth of thin two-dimensional particles lacks mechanistic details. In this work, we study why the substitution of isoleucine for methionine in a gold binding peptide (Z2, RMRMKMK) results in an increase in gold nanoparticle anisotropy. Nanoplatelet growth in the pres- ence of Z2M246I (RIRIKIK) is characterized using in situ small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and UV-Vis spectroscopy. Fitting time-resolved SAXS profiles reveals that 10 nm thick particles with two-dimensional symmetry are formed within the first few minutes of the reaction. Next, through a combination of electron diffraction and molecular dynamics studies, we show that substitution of methionine for isoluecine increases the (111) facet selectivity in Z2M246I, and conclude that this is key to the growth of nanoplatelets. However, the potential application of nanoplatelets formed using Z2M246I is limited due to their uncontrolled lateral growth, aggregation, and rapid sedimentation. Therefore, we use a liquid handling robot with a custom script to perform synthesis and dynamic interven- tion through the addition of Z2 to nanoplatelets growing in the presence of Z2M246I at different times. UV-Vis spectroscopy dynamic light scattering, and electron microscopy show that dynamic intervention results in control over the mean-size and stability of plate-like particles. Finally, we use in-situ UV-Vis spectroscopy to study plate-like particle growth at different times of intervention. Our results demonstrate that both the selectivity and magnitude of binding free energy towards lattices is important for controlling nanoparticle growth pathways.

Published: April 4, 2024


Lachowski K., H.T. Chiang, K. Torkelson, W. Zhou, S. Zhang, J. Pfaendtner, and L.D. Pozzo. 2023. Anisotropic Gold Nanomaterial Synthesis Using Peptide Facet Specificity and Timed Intervention. Langmuir 39, no. 45:15878–15888. PNNL-SA-186539. doi:10.1021/acs.langmuir.3c01577

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