[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coordination chemistry has been a consistently active branch of chemistry since Werner's seminal theory of coordination compounds inaugurated in 1893, with the central focus on transition metal complexes. However, control and measurement of metal-ligand interactions at the single-molecule level remain a daunting challenge. Here we demonstrate an interdisciplinary and systematic approach that enables measurement and modulation of the coordinative bonding forces in a transition metal complex. Terpyridine is derived with a thiol linker, facilitating covalent attachment of this ligand on both gold substrate surfaces and gold-coated atomic force microscopy tips. The coordination and bond breaking between terpyridine and osmium are followed in situ by electrochemically controlled atomic force microscopy at the single-molecule level. The redox state of the central metal atom is found to have a significant impact on the metal-ligand interactions. The present approach represents a major advancement in unravelling the nature of metal-ligand interactions and could have broad implications in coordination chemistry.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have briefly overviewed recent efforts in the electrochemistry of single transition metal complex, redox metalloprotein, and redox-marked oligonucleotide (ON) molecules. We have particularly studied self-assembled molecular monolayers (SAMs) of several 5'-C6-SH single- (ss) and double-strand (ds) ONs immobilized on Au(111) electrode surfaces via AuS bond formation, using a combination of nucleic acid chemistry, electrochemistry and electrochemically controlled scanning tunnelling microscopy (in situ STM). Ds ONs stabilized by multiply charged cations and locked nucleic acid (LNA) monomers have been primary targets, with a view on stabilizing the ds-ONs and improving voltammetric signals of intercalating electrochemical redox probes. Voltammetric signals of the intercalator anthraquinone monosulfonate (AQMS) at ds-DNA/Au(111) surfaces diluted by mercaptohexanol are significantly sharpened and more robust in the presence than in the absence of [Co(NH3 )6 ](3+) . AQMS also displays robust Faradaic voltammetric signals specific to the ds form on binding to similar LNA/Au(111) surfaces, but this signal only evolves after successive voltammetric scanning into negative potential ranges. Triply charged spermidine (Spd) invokes itself a strong voltammetric signal, which is specific to the ds form and fully matched sequences. This signal is of non-Faradaic, capacitive origin but appears in the same potential range as the Faradaic AQMS signal. In situ STM shows that molecular scale structures of the size of Spd-stabilized ds-ONs are densely packed over the Au(111) surface in potential ranges around the capacitive peak potential.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Redox reactions of solvated molecular species at gold-electrode surfaces modified by electrochemically inactive self-assembled molecular monolayers (SAMs) are found to be activated by introducing Au nanoparticles (NPs) covalently bound to the SAM to form a reactive Au-alkanedithiol-NP-molecule hybrid entity. The NP appears to relay long-range electron transfer (ET) so that the rate of the redox reaction may be as efficient as directly on a bare Au electrode, even though the ET distance is increased by several nanometers. In this study, we have employed a fast redox reaction of surface-confined 6-(ferrocenyl) hexanethiol molecules and NPs of Au, Pt and Pd to address the dependence of the rate of ET through the hybrid on the particular NP metal. Cyclic voltammograms show an increasing difference in the peak-to-peak separation for NPs in the order Au<Pt<Pd, especially when the length of the alkanedithiol increases from octanedithiol to decanedithiol. The corresponding apparent rate constants, k(app) , for decanedithiol are 1170, 360 and 14 s(-1) for NPs of Au, Pt and Pd, respectively, indicating that the efficiency of NP mediation of the ET clearly depends on the nature of the NP. Based on a preliminary analysis rooted in interfacial electrochemical ET theory, combined with a simplified two-step view of the NP coupling to the electrode and the molecule, this observation is referred to the density of electronic states of the NPs, reflected in a broadening of the molecular electron/NP bridge group levels and energy-gap differences between the Fermi levels of the different metals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have studied self-assembled molecular monolayers (SAMs) of several 3'-C3-SH conjugated single-strand (ss) and double-strand (ds) 20-base oligonucleotides (ONs) immobilized on single-crystal, atomically planar Au(111)-electrode surfaces in the presence of the triply positively charged base spermidine (Spd). This cation binds strongly to the polyanionic ON backbone and stabilizes the ds-form relative to the ss-form. A combination of chemical ON synthesis, melting temperature measurements, cyclic voltammetry (CV), and in situ scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) in aqueous biological buffer under electrochemical potential control was used. Spd binding was found to increase notably the ds-ON melting temperature. CV displays capacitive features associated with ss- and ds-ON. A robust capacitive peak around -0.35 V vs. saturated calomel electrode (SCE), specific to ds-ON and highly sensitive to base pair mismatches was consistently observed. The peak is likely to be caused by surface structural reorganization around the peak potential and located close to reported peak potentials of several DNA intercalating or covalently tethered redox molecules reported as probes for long-range electron transfer.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 10/2012; · 10.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have studied adsorption and electrochemical electron transfer of several 13- and 15-base DNA and UNA (unlocked nucleic acids) oligonucleotides (ONs) linked to Au(111)-electrode surfaces via a 5'-C6-SH group using cyclic voltammetry (CV) and scanning tunnelling microscopy in aqueous buffer under electrochemical potential control (in situ STM). 2,2',6',2''-Terpyridine (terpy) onto which the transition metal ions Fe(2+/3+), Os(2+/3+) and Ru(2+/3+) could be coordinated after UNA monolayer formation was attached to UNA via a flexible linker. The metal centres offer CV probes and in situ STM contrast markers, and the flexible UNA/linker a potential binder for intercalation. CV of pure and mercaptohexanol diluted ON monolayers displayed reductive desorption signals but also, presumably capacitive, signals at higher potentials. Distinct voltammetric signals arise on metal binding. Those from Ru-binding are by far the strongest and in accord with multiple site Ru-attachment. In situ STM disclosed molecular scale features in varying coverage on addition of the metal ions. The Ru-derivatives showed a bias voltage dependent broad maximum in the tunnelling current-overpotential correlation which could be correlated with theoretical frames for condensed matter conductivity of redox molecules. Together the data suggest that Ru-units are bound to both terpy and the UNA-DNA backbone.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 10/2012; · 3.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The electron transfer properties of proteins are normally measured as molecularly averaged ensembles. Through these and related measurements, proteins are widely regarded as macroscopically insulating materials. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM), we present new measurements of the conductance through single-molecules of the electron transfer protein cytochrome b(562) in its native conformation, under pseudo-physiological conditions. This is achieved by thiol (SH) linker pairs at opposite ends of the molecule through protein engineering, resulting in defined covalent contact between a gold surface and a platinum-iridium STM tip. Two different orientations of the linkers were examined: a long-axis configuration (SH-LA) and a short-axis configuration (SH-SA). In each case, the molecular conductance could be 'gated' through electrochemical control of the heme redox state. Reproducible and remarkably high conductance was observed in this relatively complex electron transfer system, with single-molecule conductance values peaking around 18 nS and 12 nS for the SH-SA and SH-LA cytochrome b(562) molecules near zero electrochemical overpotential. This strongly points to the important role of the heme co-factor bound to the natively structured protein. We suggest that the two-step model of protein electron transfer in the STM geometry requires a multi-electron transfer to explain such a high conductance. The model also yields a low value for the reorganisation energy, implying that solvent reorganisation is largely absent.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The biologically and nanotechnologically important heme protein cytochrome b(562) was reconstructed with zinc and copper porphyrins, leading to significant changes in the spectral, redox and electron transfer properties. The Cu form shifts the redox potential by +300 mV and exhibits high electron transfer, while the Zn form is redox inert.
Chemical Communications 09/2012; 48(86):10624-6. · 6.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The single-molecular conductance of a redox active molecular bridge has been studied in an electrochemical single-molecule transistor configuration in a room-temperature ionic liquid (RTIL). The redox active pyrrolo-tetrathiafulvalene (pTTF) moiety was attached to gold contacts at both ends through -(CH(2))(6)S- groups, and gating of the redox state was achieved with the electrochemical potential. The water-free, room-temperature, ionic liquid environment enabled both the monocationic and the previously inaccessible dicationic redox states of the pTTF moiety to be studied in the in situ scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) molecular break junction configuration. As the electrode potential is swept to positive potentials through both redox transitions, an ideal switching behavior is observed in which the conductance increases and then decreases as the first redox wave is passed, and then increases and decreases again as the second redox process is passed. This is described as an "off-on-off-on-off" conductance switching behavior. This molecular conductance vs electrochemical potential relation could be modeled well as a sequential two-step charge transfer process with full or partial vibrational relaxation. Using this view, reorganization energies of ∼1.2 eV have been estimated for both the first and second redox transitions for the pTTF bridge in the 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate (BMIOTf) ionic liquid environment. By contrast, in aqueous environments, a much smaller reorganization energy of ∼0.4 eV has been obtained for the same molecular bridge. These differences are attributed to the large, outer-sphere reorganization energy for charge transfer across the molecular junction in the RTIL.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 09/2012; 134(40):16817-26. · 10.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Separate gold and platinum nanoparticles simultaneously immobilized on a glass surface were used to study the kinetics of a catalytic reaction directly. Owing to the proximity of the platinum and gold nanoparticles, the analyte molecules can interact with the platinum nanoparticles whilst they reside in the local optical fields of the gold nanoparticles.
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 07/2012; 51(30):7592-6. · 13.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Determining catalytic activity and reaction kinetics are key issues in catalysis research and analytical applications. In their Communication (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201203526), J. Kneipp et al. describe the mapping of the kinetics of a catalytic reaction using surface-enhanced Raman scattering. The proximity of gold and platinum nanoparticles simultaneously immobilized on a glass surface enables interaction of the molecules with the platinum nanoparticles while they reside in the local optical fields of the gold nanoparticles.
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 07/2012; · 13.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Aquatic toxicology of engineered nanoparticles is challenged by methodological difficulties stemming partly from highly dynamic and poorly understood behavior of nanoparticles in biological test systems. In this paper scientific and technical challenges of testing not readily soluble nanoparticles in standardised algal growth inhibition tests are highlighted with specific focus on biomass quantification methods. This is illustrated through tests with TiO(2) and Au nanoparticles, for which cell-nanoparticle interactions and behavior was studied during incubation. Au NP coating layers changed over time and TiO(2) nanoparticle aggregation/agglomeration increased as a function of concentration. Three biomass surrogate measuring techniques were evaluated (coulter counting, cell counting in haemocytometer, and fluorescence of pigment extracts) and out of these the fluorometric methods was found to be most suitable. Background correction was identified as a key issue for biomass quantification, complicated by algae-particle interactions and nanoparticle transformation. Optimisation of the method is needed to reduce further particle interference on measurements.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied the electrochemical behavior of the redox metalloenzyme copper nitrite reductase (CNiR, Achromobacter xylosoxidans) immobilized on a Au(111)-electrode surface modified by a self-assembled cysteamine molecular monolayer (SAM) using a combination of cyclic voltammetry and electrochemically-controlled atomic force microscopy (in situ AFM). The enzyme showed no voltammetric signals in the absence of nitrite substrate, whereas a strong reductive electrocatalytic signal appeared in the presence of nitrite. Such a pattern is common in protein film and monolayer voltammetry and points to conformational changes in the enzyme upon substrate binding. Binding thus either improves the enzyme/electrode contact, or opens intramolecular electron-transfer channels between the redox center for electron inlet (a type I copper center) and the catalytic site for nitrite reduction (a type II copper center). The in situ AFM data are at the level of the single CuNiR enzyme molecule. The voltammetric patterns were paralleled by a clear increase (swelling) of the molecular height when the electrochemical potential traversed the region from resting to the electrocatalytically active redox enzyme function in the presence of nitrite. No change in size was observed in the absence of nitrite over the same potential range. The enzyme size variation is suggested to offer clues to the broadly observed substrate triggering in metalloenzyme monolayer voltammetry.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An efficient wet-chemical method based on soft interfacial self-assembly is developed for spontaneous, fast growth of large-area graphene nanofilms on various substrates. The graphene nanofilms produced show tunable optical properties and a highly reversible optoelectronic response. Complementary to chemical vapor deposition, this method could offer a fast, simple, and low-cost chemical strategy to produce graphene nanofilms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The di-heme protein Pseudomonas stutzeri cytochrome c(4) (cyt c(4)) has emerged as a useful model for studying long-range protein electron transfer (ET). Recent experimental observations have shown a dramatically different pattern of intramolecular ET between the two heme groups in different local environments. Intramolecular ET in homogeneous solution is too slow (>10 s) to be detected but fast (ms-μs) intramolecular ET in an electrochemical environment has recently been achieved by controlling the molecular orientation of the protein assembled on a gold electrode surface. In this work we have performed computational modeling of the intramolecular ET process by a combination of density functional theory (DFT) and quantum mechanical charge transfer theory to disclose reasons for this difference. We first address the electronic structures of the model heme core with histidine and methionine axial ligands in both low- and high-spin states by structure-optimized DFT. The computations enable estimating the intramolecular reorganization energy of the ET process for different combinations of low- and high-spin heme couples. Environmental reorganization free energies, work terms ("gating") and driving force were determined using dielectric continuum models. We then calculated the electronic transmission coefficient of the intramolecular ET rate using perturbation theory combined with the electronic wave functions determined by the DFT calculations for different heme group orientations and Fe-Fe separations. The reactivity of low- and high-spin heme groups was notably different. The ET rate is exceedingly low for the crystallographic equilibrium orientation but increases by several orders of magnitude for thermally accessible non-equilibrium configurations. Deprotonation of the propionate carboxyl group was also found to enhance the ET rate significantly. The results are discussed in relation to the observed surface immobilization effect and support the notion of conformationally gated ET.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 03/2012; 14(17):5953-65. · 3.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new strategy based on a thick organic film modified electrode allowed us, for the first time, to explore the voltammetric processes for a series of hydrophilic ions by electrochemically induced redox transformations of common molecular probes. During the limited time available for voltammetry, this thick organic film ensured that the generated product of the molecular probe, which is within a limited diffusion layer, was kept far away from the aqueous-organic solvent interface; therefore, regardless of the degree of hydrophobicity, the generated product never participates in ion exchange across the interface and the charge neutrality of the organic film (containing an extremely hydrophobic electrolyte) can only be maintained by the injection of ions from the aqueous phase. Taking advantage of this fact, common redox probes, such as ferrocene (Fc) and 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ), which are almost useless for both three-phase electrode (TPE) and thin-layer cyclic voltammetry (TLCV) methods, can induce the transfer of numerous highly hydrophilic anions and cations. Consequently, the majority of their Gibbs transfer energies have been accurately determined for the first time to the best of our knowledge. With this in mind, using TCNQ as a redox probe to induce facilitated cation transfer, a stategy that is more advantageous than traditional methods has been developed. The main advantages are that: (i) voltammetric experiments performed on this system were free from the polarized potential window (ppw) in the aqueous phase and, as a result, this allowed the assessment of weakly assisted ion transfers, which appear at the terminal of the ppw at single polarized interfaces; (ii) without introducing the tetraphenylarsonium-tetraphenylborate (TPAs-TPB) thermodynamic assumption, one can conveniently evaluate both the association constant and the stoichiometric parameter between the ion and its ionophore by comparison of their direct and facilitated ion transfer voltammograms. These encouraging results illustrated the exciting innovation for assessing direct and facilitated ion transfers based on this new thick organic film modified electrode.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 03/2012; 14(10):3659-68. · 3.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Physical electrochemistry has undergone a remarkable evolution over the last few decades, integrating advanced techniques and theory from solid state and surface physics. Single-crystal electrode surfaces have been a core notion, opening for scanning tunnelling microscopy directly in aqueous electrolyte (in situ STM). Interfacial electrochemistry of metalloproteins is presently going through a similar transition. Electrochemical surfaces with thiol-based promoter molecular monolayers (SAMs) as biomolecular electrochemical environments and the biomolecules themselves have been mapped with unprecedented resolution, opening a new area of single-molecule bioelectrochemistry. We consider first in situ STM of small redox molecules, followed by in situ STM of thiol-based SAMs as molecular views of bioelectrochemical environments. We then address electron transfer metalloproteins, and multi-centre metalloenzymes including applied single-biomolecular perspectives based on metalloprotein/metallic nanoparticle hybrids.