American Chemical Society
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Unconventional Zwitterionic State of l-Cysteine

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-12-16, 19:33 authored by E. Ataman, C. Isvoranu, J. N. Andersen, J. Schnadt, K. Schulte
We report the signature of an unconventional zwitterion in thick (>40 Å) l-cysteine films grown at low temperature (100 K) by means of sublimation in ultrahigh vacuum. Using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) we find that protonated amino groups (57%) are less prevalent than in films grown at higher temperatures. A large majority of the protonated amino groups receive the hydrogen through deprotonation of the thiol group (45%) and, in contrast, only a small fraction of the carboxylic groups (13%) is deprotonated. This shows, for the first time, the unconventional zwitterion to be the dominant species in l-cysteine. We believe the unusual growth parameters are responsible for this novel observation.