Viral-based nanomaterials for plasmonic and photonic materials and devices

Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. 2018 Jul;10(4):e1508. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1508. Epub 2018 Feb 8.


Over the last decade, viruses have established themselves as a powerful tool in nanotechnology. Their proteinaceous capsids benefit from biocompatibility, chemical addressability, and a variety of sizes and geometries, while their ability to encapsulate, scaffold, and self-assemble enables their use for a wide array of purposes. Moreover, the scaling up of viral-based nanotechnologies is facilitated by high capsid production yield and speed, which is particularly advantageous when compared with slower and costlier lithographic techniques. These features enable the bottom-up fabrication of photonic and plasmonic materials, which relies on the precise arrangement of photoactive material at the nanoscale to control phenomena such as electromagnetic wave propagation and energy transfer. The interdisciplinary approach required for the fabrication of such materials combines techniques from the life sciences and device engineering, thus promoting innovative research. Materials with applications spanning the fields of sensing (biological, chemical, and physical sensors), nanomedicine (cellular imaging, drug delivery, phototherapy), energy transfer and conversion (solar cells, light harvesting, photocatalysis), metamaterials (negative refraction, artificial magnetism, near-field amplification), and nanoparticle synthesis are considered with exclusive emphasis on viral capsids and protein cages. This article is categorized under: Biology-Inspired Nanomaterials > Protein and Virus-Based Structures.

Keywords: biotechnology; cage; capsid; devices; imaging; light harvesting; metamaterials; nanomaterials; nanoparticles; nanotechnology; optical; photonic; photonic crystal; plasmonic; protein; self-assembly; sensors; solar cells; viral; virus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques
  • Biotechnology*
  • Capsid
  • Cell Line
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mice
  • Nanostructures*
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Optical Imaging
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Viruses*