Structure determination of DNA-stabilized silver nanocluster fluorophores by microelectron diffraction
Characterization and Properties
DNA-stabilized silver nanoclusters (AgN-DNAs) are ultrasmall fluorophores with optical properties tuned by DNA sequence and are promising for bioimaging applications. AgN-DNAs exhibit a wide palette of fluorescence excitation and emission colors spanning from visible to near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths, and the special properties of NIR-emitting AgN-DNAs make them exciting new candidates for biomedical imaging in NIR “tissue transparency windows”. To develop AgN-DNAs for bioimaging, it is critical to advance understanding of how nanocluster composition and structure relate to AgN-DNA fluorescence properties. Using high-throughput screening of AgN-DNAs designed by machine learning, the Copp lab has discovered 1000’s of new AgN-DNAs, including > 100 new NIR emitters. However, very little is known about the atomic structures of AgN-DNAs, and growing suitable crystals for X-ray crystallography is challenging. This project will explore microelectron diffraction as an alternative method for structure determination of AgN-DNAs, to advance fundamental understanding of AgN-DNAs and develop NIR AgN-DNAs for bioimaging applications.