3 years ago

Hybrid Photonic Nanostructures by In Vivo Incorporation of an Organic Fluorophore into Diatom Algae

Hybrid Photonic Nanostructures by In Vivo Incorporation of an Organic Fluorophore into Diatom Algae
Emiliano Altamura, Fabio Palumbo, Stefania R. Cicco, Gianluca M. Farinola, Dora Mehn, Roberta Ragni, Francesco Scotognella, Guglielmo Lanzani, Luca Moretti, Danilo Vona, Giacomo Ceccone
Biotechnological processes harnessing living organisms' metabolism are low-cost routes to nanostructured materials for applications in photonics, electronics, and nanomedicine. In the pursuit of photonic biohybrids, diatoms microalgae are attractive given the properties of the porous micro-to-nanoscale structures of the biosilica shells (frustules) they produce. The investigations have focused on in vivo incorporation of tailored molecular fluorophores into the frustules of Thalassiosira weissflogii diatoms, using a procedure that paves the way for easy biotechnological production of photonic nanostructures. The procedure ensures uniform staining of shells in the treated culture and permits the resulting biohybrid photonic nanostructures to be isolated with no damage to the dye and periodic biosilica network. Significantly, this approach ensures that light emission from the dye embedded in the isolated biohybrid silica is modulated by the silica's nanostructure, whereas no modulation of photoluminescence is observed upon grafting the fluorophore onto frustules by an in vitro approach based on surface chemistry. These results pave the way to the possibility of easy production of photonic nanostructures with tunable properties by simple feeding the diatoms algae with tailored photoactive molecules. The in vivo incorporation of a tailored organic fluorophore into diatom algae is a promising route to hybrid materials with properties resulting from the combination of the fluorophore luminescence and the photonic nanostructure of biosilica shells of diatoms.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201706214

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