Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Hiroshi Matsui

Subject Categories

Chemistry | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


Collagen, M13 phage, Nanocages, Peptide


Project 1.

The conventional phage display technique focuses on screening peptide sequences that can bind on target substrates, however the selected peptides are not necessary to nucleate and mediate the growth of the target inorganic crystals, and in many cases they only show moderate affinity to the targets. Here we report a novel phage display approach that can directly screen peptides catalytically growing inorganic nanoparticles in aqueous solution at room temperature. In this study, the phage library is incubated with zinc precursor at room temperature. Among random peptide sequences displayed on phages, those phages that can grow zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles are selected with centrifugation. After several rounds of selection, the peptide sequences displayed on the phage viruses are analyzed by DNA sequencing. Our screening protocol provide a simple and convenient route for the discovery of catalytic peptides that can grow inorganic nanoparticles at room temperature. This novel screening protocol can extend the method on finding a wide range of new catalysts.

Project 2.

Genetically engineered collagen peptides are assembled into freestanding films when quantum dots (QDs) are co-assembled as joints between collagen domains. These peptide-based films show excellent mechanical properties with Young's modulus of ~20 GPa, much larger than most of the multi-composite polymer films and previously reported freestanding nanoparticle-assembled sheets, and it is even close to that reported for the bone tissue in nature. These films show little permanent deformation under small indentation while the mechanical hysteresis becomes remarkable when the load approaches near and beyond the rupture point, which is also characteristic of the bone tissue.

Project 3.

The shape-controlled synthesis of nanoparticles have been established in single-phase solutions by controlling growth directions of crystalline facets on seed nanocrystals kinetically; however, it is difficult to rationally predict and design nanoparticle shapes. Here we introduce a methodology to fabricate nanoparticles in smaller sizes by evolving shapes thermodynamically. This strategy enables a more rational approach to fabricate shaped nanoparticles by etching specific positions of atoms on facets of seed nanocrystals in reverse micelle reactors where the surface energy gradient induces desorption of atoms on specific locations on the seed surfaces. From seeds of 12 nm palladium nanocubes, the shape is evolved to concave nanocubes and finally hollow nanocages in the size ~10 nm by etching the center of {200} facets. The high surface area-to-volume ratio and the exposure of a large number of palladium atoms on ledge and kink sites of hollow nanocages are advantageous to enhance catalytic activity and recyclability.