The Blum group focuses on creating novel nanostructured devices and materials through self assembly. We invent new techniques for assembly and construction using biomolecules such as DNA, proteins, and intact virus particles as scaffolds to take advantage of the specificity and versatility they provide. These biotemplates give us access to a size scale that is difficult or impossible to reach using other techniques, particularly for assembly in three dimensions.
Current projects use Tobacco Mosaic Virus coat protein, affinity peptides, and RNA as templates for organizing nanoparticles to generate hybrid materials with desired properties. Target applications include materials with a negative index of refraction, molecular electronics-based nanosensors, magnetic nanoparticle-based data storage structures, and plasmonic structures that can act as waveguides or antennas.