Engineering with biomolecular motors
Motor proteins, including kinesin, can serve as biological components in engineered nanosystems. A proof-of-principle application is a "smart dust" biosensor for the remote detection of biological and chemical agents. The development of this system requires the integration of a diverse set of technologies, illustrates the complexity of biophysical mechanisms, and enables the formulation of general principles for nanoscale engineering. For example, our most recent work created a molecular system that is capable of dynamically assembling and disassembling its building blocks while retaining its functionality, and demonstrates the possibility of self-healing and adaptation. Optical techniques are a key tool to interrogate and interact with these nanosystems as they enable non-destructive measurements with nanometer precision as well as the control of chemical events at the nanoscale. The presentation will highlight the important contributions of photonics to the study of active nanosystems.