Biomolecular Self-Assembled Quantum-Dot Composites

Carl W. Lawton

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Ave., Lowell, MA 01854, U.S.A.




Uniform quantum dots have been synthesized utilizing our self-assembled biomolecular technique. Yeast tRNA was used as an ion-exchange/nucleation site within a polymeric matrix to form CdS, CuS, and Ag quantum dots. The nonlinear refractive index has been determined by the Z-scan method. The ability to make monodisperse, uniform, quantum dots will lead to optical materials with higher nonlinear refractive indices with picosecond response time, room temperature lasers with reduced lasing threshold and narrower emission lines, and multiplexed biochemical detection.

We are currently designing and constructing exact size proteins, utilizing recombinant techniques, that can be utilized as the ion-exchange template. In addition, we are utilizing this self-assembly process to construct quantum dot microbeads for multiplexed optical coding.