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Graduate student Chris Curran publishes a paper on biomineralization in ACS Nano

In one of the several papers coming out of the collaborative research funded an NSF EFRI grant, graduate student Chris Curran, working with Dr. Steve McIntosh and Dr. Bryan Berger from CHBE and Dr. Chris Kiely from Material Science recently published a paper in ACS Nano entitled "Direct Single-Enzyme Biomineralization of Catalytically Active Ceria and Ceria–Zirconia Nanocrystals" This paper reports on a new green biomineralization route for the production of crystalline catalytic ceria and ceria-zirconia nanoparticles. In contrast to typical chemical synthesis routes, this new technique utilizes a specifically engineered enzyme to forms crystalline oxide nanoparticles at room temperature from an otherwise inert aqueous solution without the addition of a precipitant or additional reactant. This is the first report of a single-enzyme based approach to the formation of these environmental catalyst materials that play an integral role in reduction of automotive exhaust emissions.

The team demonstrated that this enzymatic approach can produce nanocrystals that are among the smallest reported in literature (less than 3 nm) and that the biomineralized particles provide the high catalytic activity required for application. This new approach promises to reduce the environmental impact of catalyst synthesis and demonstrates that biologically inspired routes can be harnessed for the production of functional nanomaterials.

ACS Nano (IF 13.3) is a leading journal in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology that publishes research at the interfaces of chemistry, biology, materials science, physics, and engineering.

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February 2017

HRH-Chris and Matt

Chris Curran (left) and Matt Wehrmen (right) in the Health Research Hub