Superchiral near fields detect virus structure

Kakkar, T. et al. (2020) Superchiral near fields detect virus structure. Light: Science and Applications, 9(1), 195. (doi: 10.1038/s41377-020-00433-1) (PMID:33298854) (PMCID:PMC7705013)

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Optical spectroscopy can be used to quickly characterise the structural properties of individual molecules. However, it cannot be applied to biological assemblies because light is generally blind to the spatial distribution of the component molecules. This insensitivity arises from the mismatch in length scales between the assemblies (a few tens of nm) and the wavelength of light required to excite chromophores (≥150 nm). Consequently, with conventional spectroscopy, ordered assemblies, such as the icosahedral capsids of viruses, appear to be indistinguishable isotropic spherical objects. This limits potential routes to rapid high-throughput portable detection appropriate for point-of-care diagnostics. Here, we demonstrate that chiral electromagnetic (EM) near fields, which have both enhanced chiral asymmetry (referred to as superchirality) and subwavelength spatial localisation (∼10 nm), can detect the icosahedral structure of virus capsids. Thus, they can detect both the presence and relative orientation of a bound virus capsid. To illustrate the potential uses of the exquisite structural sensitivity of subwavelength superchiral fields, we have used them to successfully detect virus particles in the complex milieu of blood serum.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:We acknowledge financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P00086X/1 and EP/S001514/1) and JSPS Core to Core (EP/M024423/1) and technical support from the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lapthorn, Dr Adrian and Kadodwala, Professor Malcolm and Keijzer, Dr Chantal and Kakkar, Dr Tarun and Karimullah, Dr Affar and Barron, Professor Laurence and Milner, Dr Joel and Rodier, Ms Marion and Gadegaard, Professor Nikolaj
Authors: Kakkar, T., Keijzer, C., Rodier, M., Bukharova, T., Taliansky, M., Love, A. J., Milner, J. J., Karimullah, A. S., Barron, L. D., Gadegaard, N., Lapthorn, A. J., and Kadodwala, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Molecular Biosciences
College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Light: Science and Applications
Publisher:Springer Nature
ISSN (Online):2047-7538
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Light: Science and Applications 9(1):195
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
173324Mapping the mesoscale structural landscape using "sculpted" chiral plasmonic fieldsMalcolm KadodwalaEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/P00086X/1Chemistry
302406High-Throughput Diagnostics with Chiral Plasmonic AssaysAffar KarimullahEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/S001514/1Chemistry
190883Consortium for advanced materials based on spin chiralityStephen McVitieEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M024423/1P&S - Physics & Astronomy