Self -assembly of nanoparticles by molecular recognition
Self-assembly of nanoparticles present an excellent tool to bridge the gap between the synthetic "bottom up" and lithographic "top down" approaches. Nanoparticles provide versatile tools for materials applications as they feature unique electronic, magnetic and optical properties associated with their core material. The present study utilizes the 'bricks and mortar' method, where dendrimers and proteins were used as mortar' and nanoparticles as 'bricks'. Non-covalent assembly mechanisms were used in exploring nanocomposite structures such as morphology, spacing, and achieving materials with tunable properties. The nanoparticles were synthesized and assembled with a series of dendrimer generations and various proteins providing a systematic increase in interparticle spacing. The modulation of optical and magnetic properties based upon the type of spacer was studied. In addition, we sought to incorporate inherent protein function into the nanoparticle ensembles, thereby greatly expanding the scope for development of new functional materials. The collective optical or magnetic response of the nanocomposite with tunable properties paves the way for the creation of new novel functional materials.