Conference Proceedings


John Donegan
Yury Rakovich



luminescence quenching energy transfer bacteriorhodopsin fret purple membranes quantum dots hybrid materials semiconductor nanocrystals

Energy transfer processes in semiconductor quantum dots: bacteriorhodopsin hybrid system (2009)

Abstract The potential impact of nanoscience on energy transfer processes in biomolecules was investigated on the example of a complex between fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals and photochromic membrane protein. The interactions between colloidal CdTe quantum dots (QDs) and bacteriorhodopsin (bR) protein were studied by a variety of spectroscopic techniques, including integrated and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopies, zeta potential and size measurement, and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. QDs? luminescence was found to be strongly modulated by bacteriorhodopsin, but in a controllable way. Decreasing emission lifetimes and blue shifts in QDs? emission at increasing protein concentrations suggest that quenching occurs via Forster resonance energy transfer. On the other hand, concave Stern-Volmer plots and sigmoidal photoluminescence quenching curves imply that the self-assembling of NCs and bR exists, and the number of nanocrystals (NCs) per bacteriorhodopsin contributing to energy transfer can be determined from the inflection points of sigmoidal curves. This number was found to be highly dependent not only on the spectral overlap between NC emission and bR absorption bands, but also on nanocrystal surface charge. These results demonstrate the potential of how inorganic nanoscale materials can be employed to improve the generic molecular functions of biomolecules. The observed interactions between CdTe nanocrystals and bacteriorhodopsin can provide the basis for the development of novel functional materials with unique photonic properties and applications in areas such as all-optical switching, photovoltaics and data storage.
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Full list of authors on original publication

John Donegan, Yury Rakovich

Experts in our system

John Francis Donegan
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 156