Dynamic and Reversible Self-Assembly of Photoelectrochemical Complexes Based on Lipid Bilayer Disks, Photosynthetic Reaction Centers, and Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Ardemis A. Boghossian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Jong Hyun Choi, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Moon-Ho Ham, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Michael S. Strano, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date of this Version



Langmuir, 2011, 27 (5), pp 1599–1609


An aqueous solution containing photosynthetic reaction centers (RCs), membrane scaffold proteins (MSPs), phospholipids, and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) solubilized with the surfactant sodium cholate (SC) reversibly self-assembles into a highly ordered structure upon dialysis of the latter. The resulting structure is photoelectrochemically active and consists of 4-nm-thick lipid bilayer disks (nanodisks, NDs) arranged parallel to the surface of the SWCNT with the RC housed within the bilayer such that its hole injecting site faces the nanotube surface. The structure can be assembled and disassembled autonomously with the addition or removal of surfactant. We model the kinetic and thermodynamic forces that drive the dynamics of this reversible self-assembly process. The assembly is monitored using spectrofluorimetry during dialysis and subsequent surfactant addition and used to fit a kinetic model to determine the forward and reverse rate constants of ND and ND-SWCNT formation. The calculated ND and ND-SWCNT forward rate constants are 79 mM(-1) s(-1) and 5.4 x 10(2) mM(-1) s(-1), respectively, and the reverse rate constants are negligible over the dialysis time scale. We find that the reaction is not diffusion-controlled since the ND-SWCNT reaction, which consists of entities with smaller diffusion coefficients, has a larger reaction rate constant. Using these rate parameters, we were able to develop a kinetic phase diagram for the formation of ND-SWCNT complexes, which indicates an optimal dialysis rate of approximately 8 x 10(-4) s(-1). We also fit the model to cyclic ND-SWCNT assembly and disassembly experiments and hence mimic the thermodynamic forces used in regeneration processes detailed previously. Such forces may form the basis of both synthetic and natural photoelectrochemical complexes capable of dynamic component replacement and repair.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology