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Orientation Modulation of a Synthetic Polypeptide in Self-Assembled Monolayers:  A TOF-SIMS Study

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journal contribution
posted on 25.06.2003, 00:00 by Kirsten Leufgen, Manfred Mutter, Horst Vogel, Wilfried Szymczak
Structure and orientation of molecules are key properties of functionalized surfaces. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), here we investigate how to modulate these parameters upon the immobilization process varying the conditions of self-assembly. The molecule of interest, a template-assembled synthetic protein (TASP), consists of a central peptide ring with orthogonally arranged residues. Thioalkane chains allow the directed self-assembly of the molecule on a gold surface; four serine residues on the opposite side of the ring can be used as anchoring sites for various functional sensing molecules. The TASP conformation and its orientation in self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) play a central role for the accessibility of these serine residues. To study the influence of the self-assembly conditions, two series of samples were prepared. Pure TASP monolayers of different surface densities are compared to mixed TASP/alkanethiol monolayers prepared by sequential adsorption varying sequence and particular incubation times as well as by coadsorption modifying incubation times and TASP/alkanethiol mass ratios. Switching the TASP orientation from a state where the molecules are lying flat on the surface to an upright orientation turned out to be possible by inserting the TASP into a preformed alkanethiol monolayer of an appropriate surface density. This study demonstrates that TOF-SIMS is an excellent tool not only to investigate the surface composition, but also the molecular structure of functionalized surfaces.