Platinum nanocrystals selectively shaped using facet-specific peptide sequences

Nat Chem. 2011 May;3(5):393-9. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1025. Epub 2011 Apr 17.


The properties of a nanocrystal are heavily influenced by its shape. Shape control of a colloidal nanocrystal is believed to be a kinetic process, with high-energy facets growing faster then vanishing, leading to nanocrystals enclosed by low-energy facets. Identifying a surfactant that can specifically bind to a particular crystal facet is critical, but has proved challenging to date. Biomolecules have exquisite specific molecular recognition properties that can be explored for the precise engineering of nanostructured materials. Here, we report the use of facet-specific peptide sequences as regulating agents for the predictable synthesis of platinum nanocrystals with selectively exposed crystal surfaces and particular shapes. The formation of platinum nanocubes and nanotetrahedrons are demonstrated with Pt-{100} and Pt-{111} binding peptides, respectively. Our studies unambiguously demonstrate the abilities of facet-selective binding peptides in determining nanocrystal shape, representing a critical step forward in the use of biomolecules for programmable synthesis of nanostructures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Platinum / chemistry*


  • Peptides
  • Platinum