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Science. 2002 May 3;296(5569):892-5.

Ordering of quantum dots using genetically engineered viruses.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology, Texas Materials Institute, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


A liquid crystal system was used for the fabrication of a highly ordered composite material from genetically engineered M13 bacteriophage and zinc sulfide (ZnS) nanocrystals. The bacteriophage, which formed the basis of the self-ordering system, were selected to have a specific recognition moiety for ZnS crystal surfaces. The bacteriophage were coupled with ZnS solution precursors and spontaneously evolved a self-supporting hybrid film material that was ordered at the nanoscale and at the micrometer scale into approximately 72-micrometer domains, which were continuous over a centimeter length scale. In addition, suspensions were prepared in which the lyotropic liquid crystalline phase behavior of the hybrid material was controlled by solvent concentration and by the use of a magnetic field.

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