(405c) Nanoparticles and Proteins: How Similar Are They?
Nanoparticles dispersed in water and tightly coiled globular proteins have fundamental structural similarities, such as molecular weight, exposed chemical functionalities, and ionization state. Consequently, this brings about similarities of the force fields around nanoparticles and protein molecules, which determine their interactions with the similar particles and other nanocolloids of biological and non-biological nature. Although proteins and nanoparticles have sets of properties which strongly differentiate them from each other, the exploitation of these structural analogies provide leads in solving significant technological difficulties of nanoscale materials and devices by taking advantage of large theoretical and empirical expertise accumulated in proteomics. In this presentation, manifestation of these similarities will be traced in different aspects of nanoparticle chemistry including separation processes, interaction with surfaces, phase behavior, and self-assembly phenomena. Directions of further exploitation of the protein-nanoparticle analogy will be discussed and include biomedical applications of nanotechnology and energy harvesting.