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Novel Oriented Bacteriorhodopsin Films for Optical Applications
Phone: (503) 382-4100
The Air Force seeks new biological materials for aerospace and commercial applications. Such biological materials should have characteristics that lead to multiple applications or multifunctionality. We propose to use the membrane protein bacteriorhodopsin (BR) in a highly ordered structural form to meet the above needs. Bacteriorhodopsin has unique optical functionality that is impossible to achieve using synthetic methods. Due to this functionality, BR has great potential to become a revolutionary optical material. However, BR has not been fabricated into materials in a way that would enable the realization of this potential. Thin BR films consist of a random distribution of BR patches with microscopic order; however, the lack of macroscopic order prevents such films from taking advantage of BR's potential in optical applications, which require that the BR patches be oriented. The ideal structural form would be multiple layers of the BR patches--each layer one molecule thick. This would lead to a material which would have a structure consisting of layers of two-dimensional crystalline patches--the most ordered three-dimensional structure possible for BR. We propose to fabricate BR films with this ideal structure to produce ideal BR-based films leading to a new class of optical materials that can be formed on a variety of surfaces. OPTION TASK: None submitted.
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