White-emitting Protein-Metal Nanocluster Phosphors for Highly Performing Biohybrid Light-Emitting Diodes

Antonio Aires, Verónica Fernández-Luna, Julio Fernández-Cestau, Rubén D. Costa*, Aitziber L. Cortajarena

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


This work presents a simple in situ synthesis and stabilization of fluorescent gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) with different sizes using engineered protein scaffolds in water. The protein-AuNC hybrids show a dual emission (450 and 700 nm) with a record photoluminescence quantum yield of 20%. These features impelled us to apply them to biohybrid light-emitting diodes as color down-converting filters or biophosphors. Efficient white emission (x/y CIE color coordinates of 0.31/0.29) and stabilities of more than 800 h were achieved. This represents a 2 orders of magnitude enhancement compared to the prior art. Besides the outstanding performance, the protein scaffold also infers a unique anisotropic emission character that is considered as a proof-of-concept of high interest for single-point lighting and display.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2710-2716
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 8


  • biohybrid materials
  • biophosphors
  • light-emitting diodes
  • metal nanocluster
  • protein design
  • repeat proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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