Membrane insertion of—and membrane potential sensing by—semiconductor voltage nanosensors: Feasibility demonstration

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Science Advances  12 Jan 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 1, e1601453
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601453

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We developed membrane voltage nanosensors that are based on inorganic semiconductor nanoparticles. We provide here a feasibility study for their utilization. We use a rationally designed peptide to functionalize the nanosensors, imparting them with the ability to self-insert into a lipid membrane with a desired orientation. Once inserted, these nanosensors could sense membrane potential via the quantum confined Stark effect, with a single-particle sensitivity. With further improvements, these nanosensors could potentially be used for simultaneous recording of action potentials from multiple neurons in a large field of view over a long duration and for recording electrical signals on the nanoscale, such as across one synapse.

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