Cryogenic TEM imaging of artificial light harvesting complexes outside equilibrium

Sundar Raj Krishnaswamy, Ivo A Gabrovski, Ilias Patmanidis, Marc C A Stuart, Alex H de Vries, Maxim S Pshenichnikov*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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The energy transport in natural light-harvesting complexes can be explored in laboratory conditions via self-assembled supramolecular structures. One such structure arises from the amphiphilic dye C8S3 molecules, which self-assemble in an aqueous medium to a double-wall cylindrical nanotube reminiscent of natural light-harvesting complexes found in green sulphur bacteria. In this paper, we report a way to investigate the structure of inner nanotubes (NTs) alone by dissolving the outer NTs in a microfluidic setting. The resulting thermodynamically unstable system was rapidly frozen, preventing the reassembly of the outer NT from the dissolved molecules, and imaged using cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM). The experimental cryo-TEM images and the molecular structure were compared by simulating high-resolution TEM images, which were based on the molecular modelling of C8S3 NTs. We found that the inner NT with outer walls removed during the flash-dilution process had a similar size to the parent double-walled NTs. Moreover, no structural inhomogeneity was observed in the inner NT after flash-dilution. This opens up exciting possibilities for functionalisation of inner NTs before the reassembly of the outer NT occurs, which can be broadly extended to modify the intra-architecture of other self-assembled nanostructures.

Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer5552
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftScientific Reports
Volume12
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
DOI's
StatusPublished - 1-apr-2022

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