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Title: Implementing the synthetic biology design cycle to fabricate laser dyes
Author: Hales, J. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 8117
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Current day nanotechnologies do not match the nanoscale systems that maintain biological cells for their complexity, dynamism or programmability. As such, perhaps more advanced nanotechnologies could be developed by sourcing biological components and employing biological fabrication techniques. In a first step towards bridging this gap, the work here demonstrates that filamentous viruses can be used to engineer nanostructured laser dyes. As a starting point, the suitability of M13 filamentous bacteriophage as a viral scaffold for fabricating laser dyes was assessed. Subsequently, laser systems with gain media composed of M13 phage labelled with fluorescein dyes exhibited both threshold behaviour and spectral linewidth narrowing, which are the two characteristic properties of lasers. In these novel biological gain media, the bulk distribution of the dyes is inhomogeneous but the nanoscale arrangement of the scaffolded dyes and their dielectric microenvironment are highly ordered and tunable. Adopting the design principles at the core of the synthetic biology movement, biological substrates can be chemical and genetically programmed to create enhanced substrates for active nanodevices. Here, the phage was re-programmed to display an exposed thiol group at the surface of the phage. These cys-M13 substrates had interesting bulk properties and could be labelled with spin labels to create “spin phage”. In addition, a recombinant tobacco mosaic virus-like particle (rTMV) was designed, cloned and expressed. The substrates do not have a life cycle in E. coli, so they represent a new, highly programmable material for engineering laser dyes and active media. As an application, the feasibility of using the laser dyes developed here to engineer lasing detection probes was explored. The realisation of a lasing detection probe would be a landmark development in in vitro diagnostics, since they would have exhibit a digital response to excitation and would have a narrow emission linewidth, amongst other advantages.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available