Generic biocombinatorial strategy to select tailor-made stabilizers for sol-gel nanoparticle synthesis.
A generic route toward de novo design of tailor-made stabilizers for sol-gel
nanoparticle synthesis is described. By exploiting phage display biopanning to select
stabilizers from large peptide libraries, a significantly larger chemical space (~ 109 different
compounds) is explored, compared to commonly used knowledge-based or empiric strategies.
The approach is demonstrated on the fluorolytic sol-gel synthesis of MgF2 nanoparticles from
Mg(OCH3)2 precursors. Peptide sequences are selected, showing sequence-specific adsorption
onto MgF2 particle surfaces. Cognate peptide-poly(ethylene oxide) conjugates act as highly
effective sol stabilizers, enabling resuspendability of the MgF2 sol particles even after drying
and thus significantly improving the processability compared to the best established
stabilizers. Selecting material specific stabilizers by phage-display can potentially be
expanded to a broad scope of sol-gel processes, offering not only practical access route to
applicable stabilizers but also means to investigate local interactions on nanomaterial surfaces.