Direct Probe of Molecular Polarization in De Novo Protein-Electrode Interfaces
A novel approach to energy harvesting and biosensing devices would exploit optoelectronic processes found in proteins that occur in nature. However, in order to design such systems, the proteins need to be attached to electrodes and the optoelectronic properties in nonliquid (ambient) environments must be understood at a fundamental level. Here we report the simultaneous detection of electron transport and the effect of optical absorption on dielectric polarizability in oriented peptide single molecular layers. This characterization requires a peptide design strategy to control protein/electrode interface interactions, to allow peptide patterning on a substrate, and to induce optical activity. In addition, a new method to probe electronic, dielectric, and optical properties at the single molecular layer level is demonstrated. The combination enables a quantitative comparison of the change in polarization volume between the ground state and excited state in a single molecular layer in a manner that allows spatial mapping relevant to ultimate device design.
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