Highly sensitive hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) gas sensors from viral-templated nanocrystalline gold nanowires.
Biological systems possess inherent molecular recognition and self-assembly capabilities and are attractive templates for constructing complex material structures with molecular precision. Here we report the assembly of various nanoachitectures including nanoparticle arrays, hetero-nanoparticle architectures, and nanowires utilizing highly engineered M13 bacteriophage as templates. The genome of M13 phage can be rationally engineered to produce viral particles with distinct substrate-specific peptides expressed on the filamentous capsid and the ends, providing a generic template for programmable assembly of complex nanostructures. Phage clones with gold-binding motifs on the capsid and streptavidin-binding motifs at one end are created and used to assemble Au and CdSe nanocrytals into ordered one-dimensional arrays and more complex geometries. Initial studies show such nanoparticle arrays can further function as templates to nucleate highly conductive nanowires that are important for addressing/interconnecting individual nanostructures.