Characterization of conductive nanobiomaterials derived from viral assemblies by low-voltage STEM imaging and Raman scattering

Germán Plascencia-Villa, Liliana Carreño-Fuentes, Daniel Bahena, Miguel José-Yacamán, Laura A. Palomares, Octavio T. Ramírez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


New technologies require the development of novel nanomaterials that need to be fully characterized to achieve their potential. High-resolution low-voltage scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) has proven to be a very powerful technique in nanotechnology, but its use for the characterization of nanobiomaterials has been limited. Rotavirus VP6 self-assembles into nanotubular assemblies that possess an intrinsic affinity for Au ions. This property was exploited to produce hybrid nanobiomaterials by the in situ functionalization of recombinant VP6 nanotubes with gold nanoparticles. In this work, Raman spectroscopy and advanced analytical electron microscopy imaging with spherical aberration-corrected (Cs) STEM and nanodiffraction at low-voltage doses were employed to characterize nanobiomaterials. STEM imaging revealed the precise structure and arrangement of the protein templates, as well as the nanostructure and atomic arrangement of gold nanoparticles with high spatial sub-Angstrom resolution and avoided radiation damage. The imaging was coupled with backscattered electron imaging, ultra-high resolution scanning electron microscopy and x-ray spectroscopy. The hybrid nanobiomaterials that were obtained showed unique properties as bioelectronic conductive devices and showed enhanced Raman scattering by their precise arrangement into superlattices, displaying the utility of viral assemblies as functional integrative self-assembled nanomaterials for novel applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number385706
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 26 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Raman scattering
  • STEM
  • biomaterials
  • gold nanoparticles
  • viral proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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