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Layer-By-Layer Assembly of Viral Nanoparticles and Polyelectrolytes: The Film Architecture is Different for Spheres Versus Rods

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Abstract

The development of tuneable thin film assemblies that contain (bio)nanoparticles is an emerging field in nanobiosciences/nanotechnology. Our research focuses on the utilisation of viral nanoparticles (VNPs) as tools and building blocks for materials science. In previous reports we studied multilayered arrays of chemically modified cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) particles and linker molecules. To extend these studies and to gain more insights into the architecture of the arrays, we report here on the construction of multilayered assemblies of native plant viral particles and polyelectrolytes. We specifically addressed the question of whether the shape of the VNPs influences the overall structures of the arrays. To study this, we have chosen two particles with similar surface properties but different shapes: CPMV was used as a sphere-like VNP, and tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) served as a rod-shaped VNP. The multilayers were self-assembled on solid supports through electrostatic interactions. Multilayer build-up was followed by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring and UV/Vis spectroscopy. Scanning electron microscopy was used to characterize the topologies of the thin films. Our studies show that shape indeed matters. Incorporation of CPMV in alternating arrays of VNPs and polyelectrolytes is demonstrated; in stark contrast, TMV particles were found to be excluded from the arrays, and floated atop the architecture in an ordered structure.

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