Molecular Metamaterials


Project Leader(s):
Marit Nilsen-Hamilton

Principal Investigators:
Andrew Hillier, Thomas Koschny, Surya Mallapragada, Marit Nilsen-Hamilton, Costas Soukoulis


Biological templates for metallization will be produced based on natural structures of DNA combined with interacting proteins to stabilize the structures. The proteins will be modified to attract metal ions such as gold or silver. In these initial studies to establish templates we propose to produce circular templates with a single gap (split rings). Several approaches will be used to produce these templates, which rely on the ability of DNA to circularize, the abilities of certain proteins to bind DNA, the specificity of certain proteins for particular DNA sequences, the modularity of protein structure and the ability to construct fusion proteins with DNA binding domains. The base structures for the production of circles will be DNA that is either single or double stranded. The sequences of the base DNA structures will be defined according to the proteins that will be used to decorate them. The purpose of the proteins will be to:

  • stabilize the DNA structure
  • provide a template for the attraction of metal ions to the structure

A variety of strategies will be used with different DNA binding proteins and different metal chelating options to optimize

  • shape
  • metal accumulation

Metallization will be achieved by electroless deposition. Decisions of which parameters to optimize will be informed by the results of the theoretical studies and metallization studies.