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A biomimetic approach utilizing biomolecular self-assembly was used to tailor quantum-dot composites for use as nonlinear optical media. Yeast tRNA was utilized as an ion-exchange/nucleation site within a polymeric matrix (polyacrylamide). Cadmium ion-exchange and subsequent sulfide precipitation resulted in quantum-dot formation. Illumination of samples with an Argon laser (514 nm) utilizing the Z-scan measurement method resulted in χ3 values of +3.7 ×10−6 esu.
Two different biomimetic strategies were utilized in the formation of magnetite fibers. The first strategy utilized natural (Sphaerotilus natans sheaths) or synthetic (hollow fibers) matrices for magnetite formation. The second strategy made use of an iron-hydroxide intermediate that was subsequently chemically converted to magnetite within the biomimetic matrix. The formation of magnetite was determined by both visual and x-ray diffraction analysis. This process has advantages over conventional routes because of the expense and handling problems associated with the production of ceramic whiskers and fibers. The magnetite formed by this process may prove to have unique properties due to its unusual fiber structure.
Recent advances in recombinant DNA technology have created the potential for engineering of protein molecules to specific uses beyond those normally considered for biomaterials. This research project has demonstrated the feasibility of producing polypeptides useful for narrow band filters and nonlinear optical applications.
Synthetic genes, ranging in size from 36 to 576 base pairs, have been constructed from oligonucleotides using a restriction doubling technique. The synthetic genes have been inserted into a Protein A fusion expression system. Fused polypeptides from induced cells have been purified by affinity chromatography (IGG), and analyzed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
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