Amine-terminated dendrimers as biomimetic templates for silica nanosphere formation

Marc R. Knecht, David W. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


In diatoms, silica synthesis occurs by use of complex posttranslationally modified peptides, termed silaffins, and highly complex biological polyamine structures. Silaffin peptides have lysine residues that are modified to long-chain polyamine moieties of N-methyl derivatives of polypropylenimine to drive silica synthesis at slightly acidic pH conditions. Using polypropylenimine (PPI) and PAMAM amine-terminated dendrimers as a biomimetic analogue of the polyamine modifications of silaffins, we have demonstrated the condensation of silica nanospheres. We have shown that the dendrimers react in an amine concentration-dependent fashion yielding silica nanospheres with a distinct size distribution reminiscent of the structures produced from both the modified and nonmodified peptides extracted from diatoms. Additionally, the templates were encapsulated by the growing nanospheres and precipitated from solution in a manner similar to that previously described for the bioactive peptides and polyamines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4728-4732
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 25 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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