Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
College, School or Department Name
Department of Physics
Shashi Ranjan Prasad Karna
In recent years, the bio-conjugated nanostructured materials have emerged as a new class of materials for the bio-sensing and medical diagnostics applications. In spite of their multi-directional applications, interfacing nanomaterials with bio-molecules has been a challenge due to somewhat limited knowledge about the underlying physics and chemistry behind these interactions and also for the complexity of biomolecules.
The main objective of this dissertation is to provide such a detailed knowledge on bioconjugated nanomaterials toward their applications in designing the next generation of sensing devices. Specifically, we investigate the changes in the electronic properties of a boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) due to the adsorption of different bio-molecules, ranging from neutral (DNA/RNA nucleobases) to polar (amino acid molecules).
BNNT is a typical member of III-V compounds semiconductors with morphology similar to that of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) but with its own distinct properties. More specifically, the natural affinity of BNNTs toward living cells with no apparent toxicity instigates the applications of BNNTs in drug delivery and cell therapy.
Our results predict that the adsorption of DNA/RNA nucleobases on BNNTs amounts to different degrees of modulation in the band gap of BNNTs, which can be exploited for distinguishing these nucleobases from each other. Interestingly, for the polar amino acid molecules, the nature of interaction appeared to vary ranging from Coulombic, van der Waals and covalent depending on the polarity of the individual molecules, each with a different binding strength and amount of charge transfer involved in the interaction.
The strong binding of amino acid molecules on the BNNTs explains the observed protein wrapping onto BNNTs without any linkers, unlike carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Additionally, the widely varying binding energies corresponding to different amino acid molecules toward BNNTs indicate to the suitability of BNNTs for the biosensing applications, as compared to the metallic CNTs.
The calculated I-V characteristics in these bioconjugated nanotubes predict notable changes in the conductivity of BNNTs due to the physisorption of DNA/RNA nucleobases. This is not the case with metallic CNTs whose transport properties remained unaltered in their conjugated systems with the nucleobases. Collectively, the bioconjugated BNNTs are found to be an excellent system for the next generation sensing devices.
Mukhopadhyay, Saikat, "Quantum modeling of bioconjugated nanomaterials", Dissertation, Michigan Technological University, 2012.