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Nanoscale. 2015 Apr 28;7(16):7340-51. doi: 10.1039/c5nr00651a.

Taking a hard line with biotemplating: cobalt-doped magnetite magnetic nanoparticle arrays.

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University of Sheffield, Department of Chemistry, Dainton Building, Sheffield, S3 7HF, UK.


Rapid advancements made in technology, and the drive towards miniaturisation, means that we require reliable, sustainable and cost effective methods of manufacturing a wide range of nanomaterials. In this bioinspired study, we take advantage of millions of years of evolution, and adapt a biomineralisation protein for surface patterning of biotemplated magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs). We employ soft-lithographic micro-contact printing to pattern a recombinant version of the biomineralisation protein Mms6 (derived from the magnetotactic bacterium Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1). The Mms6 attaches to gold surfaces via a cysteine residue introduced into the N-terminal region. The surface bound protein biotemplates highly uniform MNPs of magnetite onto patterned surfaces during an aqueous mineralisation reaction (with a mean diameter of 90 ± 15 nm). The simple addition of 6% cobalt to the mineralisation reaction maintains the uniformity in grain size (with a mean diameter of 84 ± 14 nm), and results in the production of MNPs with a much higher coercivity (increased from ≈ 156 Oe to ≈ 377 Oe). Biotemplating magnetic nanoparticles on patterned surfaces could form a novel, environmentally friendly route for the production of bit-patterned media, potentially the next generation of ultra-high density magnetic data storage devices. This is a simple method to fine-tune the magnetic hardness of the surface biotemplated MNPs, and could easily be adapted to biotemplate a wide range of different nanomaterials on surfaces to create a range of biologically templated devices.

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