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Plasmon-based determination of macromolecular interactions with membrane-encapsulated nanoparticles

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paper

  • Paul O'Shea
  • Joanna L. Richens
  • Jonathan P. Bramble
  • jennifer Bain


Nanoparticles exhibit various optical properties arising from scattering and absorption due to polariton excitation. The resulting frequency and amplitude is dependent on several factors such as particle size, shape, and dielectric environment. By modifying the environment of the nanoparticle surface, in particular by encapsulating an individual nanoparticle within a membrane bilayer comprising defined phospholipids, these properties may be utilised to interrogate molecular interactions adjacent to the particle surface to useful levels of sensitivity. We describe the underlying rationale of these properties and characterise the preparation and behaviour of the nanoparticles. We indicate the potential this approach may have for sensing and screening in analytical biomolecular technology by demonstrating that it can be utilised to reveal the kinetics of the molecular interactions of membrane associated events. We also indicate that the technique may yield higherorder structural information of the macromolecule-membrane interactions in a highly sensitive manner and discuss the physical origins of these potentially more exotic phenomena.