Capture and alignment of phi29 viral particles in sub-40 nanometer porous alumina membranes
Bacteriophage phi29 virus nanoparticles and its associated DNA packaging nanomotor can provide for novel possibilities towards the development of hybrid bio-nano structures. Towards the goal of interfacing the phi29 viruses and nanomotors with artificial micro and nanostructures, we fabricated nanoporous Anodic Aluminum Oxide (AAO) membranes with pore size of 70 nm and shrunk the pores to sub 40 nm diameter using atomic layer deposition (ALD) of Aluminum Oxide. We were able to capture and align particles in the anodized nanopores using two methods. Firstly, a functionalization and polishing process to chemically attach the particles in the inner surface of the pores was developed. Secondly, centrifugation of the particles was utilized to align them in the pores of the nanoporous membranes. In addition, when a mixture of empty capsids and packaged particles was centrifuged at specific speeds, it was found that the empty capsids deform and pass through 40 nm diameter pores whereas the particles packaged with DNA were mainly retained at the top surface of the nanoporous membranes. Fluorescence microscopy was used to verify the selective filtration of empty capsids through the nanoporous membranes.