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Detailed Analysis of the Electron-Transfer Properties of Azurin Adsorbed on Graphite Electrodes Using dc and Large-Amplitude Fourier Transformed ac Voltammetry

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2007, 00:00 by Barry D. Fleming, Jie Zhang, Darrell Elton, Alan M. Bond
The analysis of dc cyclic voltammograms of surface-confined metalloproteins is complicated by large background currents, significant ohmic iRu drop, and frequency dispersion related to protein and electrode surface inhomogeneity. The use of large-amplitude Fourier transform ac voltammetry for the quantification of the electron-transfer properties of a thin film of redox-active protein azurin adsorbed onto edge-plane, basal-plane, and highly oriented pyrolytic graphite electrode surfaces has been evaluated and compared to results obtained by dc cyclic voltammetry. In principle, it has been established that fourth and higher harmonic sine-wave data are ideally suited for analysis of electron-transfer processes as they are almost completely devoid of background capacitance current contributions. However, uncompensated resistance has a higher impact on these components, as is the case with fast scan rate dc techniques, so strategies to include this term in the simulations have been investigated. Application of recommended strategies for the evaluation of the electron-transfer properties of azurin adsorbed onto three forms of graphite, each having different background or uncompensated resistance values, is described and compared to results obtained by traditionally used forms of cyclic voltammetry. The electron-transfer rate constant, k0‘, of azurin at a highly oriented pyrolytic graphite electrode surface was ∼250 s-1, compared with ≥1000 s-1 at edge-plane and basal-plane graphite electrodes. The significantly lower k0‘ value found at the highly oriented pyrolytic graphite electrode was related to the relatively low level of edge-plane defect sites present at the surface of this electrode. However, analysis of high ac harmonics suggests that frequency dispersion is substantial at all electrode surfaces. Such effects in these diffusionless situations are significantly enhanced relative to solution-phase voltammetry, where overlay of diffusion layers minimizes the impact of heterogeneity.