The position of the peripheral nitrogen atoms in bis(terpyridine)-derived oligopyridines (BTPs) has a strong impact on their self-assembly behavior at the liquid/HOPG (highly oriented pyrolytic graphite) interface. The intermolecular hydrogen bonding interactions in these peripheral pyridine units show specific 2D structures for each BTP isomer. From nine possible constitutional isomers only four have been described in the literature. The synthesis and self-assembling behavior of an additional isomer is presented here, but the remaining four members of the series are synthetically inaccessible. The self-assembling properties of three of the missing four BTP isomers can be mimicked by making use of the energetically preferred N–C–C–N transoid conformation between 2,2'-bipyridine subunits in a new class of so-called septipyridines. The structures are investigated by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and a combination of force-field and first-principles electronic structure calculations.
oligopyridines; self-assembled monolayer; STM
Hybrid supramolecular architectures have been fabricated with acceptor 1,4-bis(4-pyridylethynyl)-2,3-bis-dodecyloxy-benzene (PBP) and donor 2,6-bis(3,4,5-tris-dodecyloxy-phenyl)dithieno[3,2-b:2′,3′-d]thiophene (DTT) compounds on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) surfaces and their structures and molecular conductance are characterized by scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS). Stable, one-component adlayers of PBP and DTT are also investigated. The coadsorption of two-component mixtures of PBP and DTT results in a variety of hybrid nanopattern architectures that differ from those of their respective one-component surface assemblies. Adjusting the acceptor/donor molar ratio in mixed adlayer assemblies results in dramatic changes in the structure of the hybrid nanopatterns. STS measurements indicate that the HOMO and LUMO energy levels of PBP and DTT on an HOPG surface are relatively insensitive to changes in the hybrid supramolecular architectures. These results provide important insight into the design and fabrication of two-dimensional hybrid supramolecular architectures.
Fibril structures are produced at a solvent–graphite interface by self-assembly of custom-designed symmetric and asymmetric amphiphilic benzamide derivatives bearing C10 aliphatic chains. Scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) studies reveal geometry-dependent internal structures for the elementary fibrils of the two molecules that are distinctly different from known mesophase bulk structures. The structures are described by building-block models based on hydrogen-bonded dimer and tetramer precursors of hydrazines. The closure and growth in length of building units into fibrils takes place through van der Waals forces acting between the dangling alkyl chains. The nanoscale morphology is a consequence of the basic molecular geometry, where it follows that a closure to form a fibril is not always likely for the doubly substituted hydrazine. Therefore, we also observe crystallite formation.
fibrils; graphite; hydrazide; hydrazine; interface; self-assembly; STM
The widely used method to monitor the aggregation process of amyloid peptide is thioflavin T (ThT) assay, while the detailed molecular mechanism is still not clear. In this work, we report here the direct identification of the binding modes of ThT molecules with the prion peptide GNNQQNY by using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The assembly structures of GNNQQNY were first observed by STM on a graphite surface, and the introduction of ThT molecules to the surface facilitated the STM observations of the adsorption conformations of ThT with peptide strands. ThT molecules are apt to adsorb on the peptide assembly with β-sheet structure and oriented parallel with the peptide strands adopting four different binding modes. This effort could benefit the understanding of the mechanisms of the interactions between labeling species or inhibitory ligands and amyloid peptides, which is keenly needed for developing diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
GNNQQNY; thioflavin T; binding mode; amyloid; labeling molecule; scanning tunneling microscopy
Despite their importance in self-assembly processes, the influence of charged counterions on the geometry of self-assembled organic monolayers and their direct localisation within the monolayers has been given little attention. Recently, various examples of self-assembled monolayers composed of charged molecules on surfaces have been reported, but no effort has been made to prove the presence of counterions within the monolayer. Here we show that visualisation and exact localisation of counterions within self-assembled monolayers can be achieved with scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM). The presence of charges on the studied shape-persistent macrocycles is shown to have a profound effect on the self-assembly process at the liquid–solid interface. Furthermore, preferential adsorption was observed for the uncharged analogue of the macrocycle on a surface.
counterions; liquid–solid interface; macrocycles; scanning tunnelling microscopy; self-assembly
Hydrophobins are small proteins produced by filamentous fungi that have a variety of biological functions including coating of spores and surface adhesion. To accomplish these functions, they rely on unique interface-binding properties. Using atomic-detail implicit solvent rigid-body Brownian dynamics simulations, we studied the diffusion of HFBI, a class II hydrophobin from Trichoderma reesei, in aqueous solution in the presence and absence of a graphite surface.
In the simulations, HFBI exists in solution as a mixture of monomers in equilibrium with different types of oligomers. The oligomerization state depends on the conformation of HFBI. When a Highly Ordered Pyrolytic Graphite (HOPG) layer is present in the simulated system, HFBI tends to interact with the HOPG layer through a hydrophobic patch on the protein.
From the simulations of HFBI solutions, we identify a tetrameric encounter complex stabilized by non-polar interactions between the aliphatic residues in the hydrophobic patch on HFBI. After the formation of the encounter complex, a local structural rearrangement at the protein interfaces is required to obtain the tetrameric arrangement seen in HFBI crystals. Simulations performed with the graphite surface show that, due to a combination of a geometric hindrance and the interaction of the aliphatic sidechains with the graphite layer, HFBI proteins tend to accumulate close to the hydrophobic surface.
Novel supramolecular coatings that make use of low molecular weight ditopic monomers with guanine end groups are studied using fluid tapping AFM. These molecules assemble on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) from aqueous solutions to form nano-sized banding structures whose sizes can be systematically tuned at the nano-scale by tailoring the molecular structure of the monomers. The nature of the self-assembly in these systems has been studied through a combination of the self-assembly of structural derivatives and molecular modeling. Furthermore, we introduce the concept of using these molecular assemblies as scaffolds to organize functional groups on the surface. As a first demonstrationof this concept, scaffold monomers that contain a monomethyl triethyleneglycol branch were used to organize these “functional” units on a HOPG surface. These supramolecular grafted assemblies have been shown to be stable in biologically-relevant environments and even have the ability to significantly reduce static platelet adhesion.
nanopattern; nanotechnology; surface assembly; supramolecular polymerization; surface thrombosis; biomaterial coating
Molecular probes for selective identification of protein aggregates are important to advance our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis underlying protein aggregation diseases. Here we report the chemical design of a library of anionic luminescent conjugated oligothiophenes (LCOs), which can be utilized as ligands for detection of protein aggregates. Certain molecular requirements were shown to be necessary for detecting: i) early non-thioflavinophilic protein assemblies of Aβ1-42 and insulin preceding the formation of amyloid fibrils and ii) for obtaining distinct spectral signatures of the two main pathological hallmarks observed in human Alzheimer’s diease brain tissue (Aβ plaques and neurofibrillary tangles). Our findings suggest that a superior anionic LCO based ligand should have a backbone consisting of five to seven thiophene units and carboxyl groups extending the conjugated thiophene backbone. Such LCOs will be highly useful for studying the underlying molecular events of protein aggregation diseases and could also be utilized for the development of novel diagnostic tools for these diseases.
The development of hybrid electronic devices relies in large part on the integration of (bio)organic materials and inorganic semiconductors through a stable interface that permits efficient electron transport and protects underlying substrates from oxidative degradation. Group IV semiconductors can be effectively protected with highly-ordered self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) composed of simple alkyl chains that act as impervious barriers to both organic and aqueous solutions. Simple alkyl SAMs, however, are inert and not amenable to traditional patterning techniques. The motivation for immobilizing organic molecular systems on semiconductors is to impart new functionality to the surface that can provide optical, electronic, and mechanical function, as well as chemical and biological activity.
Microcontact printing (μCP) is a soft-lithographic technique for patterning SAMs on myriad surfaces.1-9 Despite its simplicity and versatility, the approach has been largely limited to noble metal surfaces and has not been well developed for pattern transfer to technologically important substrates such as oxide-free silicon and germanium. Furthermore, because this technique relies on the ink diffusion to transfer pattern from the elastomer to substrate, the resolution of such traditional printing is essentially limited to near 1 μm.10-16
In contrast to traditional printing, inkless μCP patterning relies on a specific reaction between a surface-immobilized substrate and a stamp-bound catalyst. Because the technique does not rely on diffusive SAM formation, it significantly expands the diversity of patternable surfaces. In addition, the inkless technique obviates the feature size limitations imposed by molecular diffusion, facilitating replication of very small (<200 nm) features.17-23 However, up till now, inkless μCP has been mainly used for patterning relatively disordered molecular systems, which do not protect underlying surfaces from degradation.
Here, we report a simple, reliable high-throughput method for patterning passivated silicon and germanium with reactive organic monolayers and demonstrate selective functionalization of the patterned substrates with both small molecules and proteins. The technique utilizes a preformed NHS-reactive bilayered system on oxide-free silicon and germanium. The NHS moiety is hydrolyzed in a pattern-specific manner with a sulfonic acid-modified acrylate stamp to produce chemically distinct patterns of NHS-activated and free carboxylic acids. A significant limitation to the resolution of many μCP techniques is the use of PDMS material which lacks the mechanical rigidity necessary for high fidelity transfer. To alleviate this limitation we utilized a polyurethane acrylate polymer, a relatively rigid material that can be easily functionalized with different organic moieties. Our patterning approach completely protects both silicon and germanium from chemical oxidation, provides precise control over the shape and size of the patterned features, and gives ready access to chemically discriminated patterns that can be further functionalized with both organic and biological molecules. The approach is general and applicable to other technologically-relevant surfaces.
Bioengineering; Issue 58; Soft lithography; microcontact printing; protein arrays; catalytic printing; oxide-free silicon
Ionic-complementary peptides are novel nano-biomaterials with a variety of biomedical applications including potential biosurface engineering. This study presents evidence that a model ionic-complementary peptide EAK16-II is capable of assembling/coating on hydrophilic mica as well as hydrophobic highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) surfaces with different nano-patterns. EAK16-II forms randomly oriented nanofibers or nanofiber networks on mica, while ordered nanofibers parallel or oriented 60° or 120° to each other on HOPG, reflecting the crystallographic symmetry of graphite (0001). The density of coated nanofibers on both surfaces can be controlled by adjusting the peptide concentration and the contact time of the peptide solution with the surface. The coated EAK16-II nanofibers alter the wettability of the two surfaces differently: the water contact angle of bare mica surface is measured to be <10°, while it increases to 20.3±2.9° upon 2 h modification of the surface using a 29 µM EAK16-II solution. In contrast, the water contact angle decreases significantly from 71.2±11.1° to 39.4±4.3° after the HOPG surface is coated with a 29 µM peptide solution for 2 h. The stability of the EAK16-II nanofibers on both surfaces is further evaluated by immersing the surface into acidic and basic solutions and analyzing the changes in the nanofiber surface coverage. The EAK16-II nanofibers on mica remain stable in acidic solution but not in alkaline solution, while they are stable on the HOPG surface regardless of the solution pH. This work demonstrates the possibility of using self-assembling peptides for surface modification applications.
In this minireview, we survey recent advances in the synthesis, characterization, and modeling of new oligothiophene–oligopeptide hybrids capable of forming nanostructured fibrillar aggregates in solution and on solid substrates. Compounds of this class are promising for applications because their self-assembly and stimuli-responsive properties, provided by the peptide moieties combined with the semiconducting properties of the thiophene blocks, can result in novel opportunities for the design of advanced smart materials. These bio-inspired molecular hybrids are experimentally shown to form stable fibrils as visualized by AFM and TEM. While the experimental evidence alone is not sufficient to reveal the exact molecular organization of the fibrils, theoretical approaches based on quantum chemistry calculations and large-scale atomistic molecular dynamics simulations are attempted in an effort to reveal the structure of the fibrils at the nanoscale. Based on the combined theoretical and experimental analysis, the most likely models of fibril formation and aggregation are suggested.
amyloid-like fibrils; bioinspired conjugates; molecular dynamics simulations; oligopeptides; oligothiophenes; self-assembly
Single- and multilayer graphene and highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) were exposed to a pure hydrogen low-temperature plasma (LTP). Characterizations include various experimental techniques such as photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy. Our photoemission measurement shows that hydrogen LTP exposed HOPG has a diamond-like valence-band structure, which suggests double-sided hydrogenation. With the scanning tunneling microscopy technique, various atomic-scale charge-density patterns were observed, which may be associated with different C–H conformers. Hydrogen-LTP-exposed graphene on SiO2 has a Raman spectrum in which the D peak to G peak ratio is over 4, associated with hydrogenation on both sides. A very low defect density was observed in the scanning probe microscopy measurements, which enables a reverse transformation to graphene. Hydrogen-LTP-exposed HOPG possesses a high thermal stability, and therefore, this transformation requires annealing at over 1000 °C.
graphane; HOPG; hydrogenation; plasma
Protein oligomers are formed either permanently, transiently or even by default. The protein chains are associated through intermolecular interactions constituting the protein interface. The protein interfaces of 40 soluble protein oligomers of stœchiometries above two are investigated using a quantitative and qualitative methodology, which analyzes the x-ray structures of the protein oligomers and considers their interfaces as interaction networks. The protein oligomers of the dataset share the same geometry of interface, made by the association of two individual β-strands (β-interfaces), but are otherwise unrelated. The results show that the β-interfaces are made of two interdigitated interaction networks. One of them involves interactions between main chain atoms (backbone network) while the other involves interactions between side chain and backbone atoms or between only side chain atoms (side chain network). Each one has its own characteristics which can be associated to a distinct role. The secondary structure of the β-interfaces is implemented through the backbone networks which are enriched with the hydrophobic amino acids favored in intramolecular β-sheets (MCWIV). The intermolecular specificity is provided by the side chain networks via positioning different types of charged residues at the extremities (arginine) and in the middle (glutamic acid and histidine) of the interface. Such charge distribution helps discriminating between sequences of intermolecular β-strands, of intramolecular β-strands and of β-strands forming β-amyloid fibers. This might open new venues for drug designs and predictive tool developments. Moreover, the β-strands of the cholera toxin B subunit interface, when produced individually as synthetic peptides, are capable of inhibiting the assembly of the toxin into pentamers. Thus, their sequences contain the features necessary for a β-interface formation. Such β-strands could be considered as ‘assemblons’, independent associating units, by homology to the foldons (independent folding unit). Such property would be extremely valuable in term of assembly inhibitory drug development.
Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of nitrile-substituted oligo(phenylene ethynylene) thiols (NC-OPEn) with a variable chain length n (n ranging from one to three structural units) on Au(111) were studied by synchrotron-based high-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and near-edge absorption fine-structure spectroscopy. The experimental data suggest that the NC-OPEn molecules form well-defined SAMs on Au(111), with all the molecules bound to the substrate through the gold–thiolate anchor and the nitrile tail groups located at the SAM–ambient interface. The packing density in these SAMs was found to be close to that of alkanethiolate monolayers on Au(111), independent of the chain length. Similar behavior was found for the molecular inclination, with an average tilt angle of ~33–36° for all the target systems. In contrast, the average twist of the OPEn backbone (planar conformation) was found to depend on the molecular length, being close to 45° for the films comprising the short OPE chains and ~53.5° for the long chains. Analysis of the data suggests that the attachment of the nitrile moiety, which served as a spectroscopic marker group, to the OPEn backbone did not significantly affect the molecular orientation in the SAMs.
nitrile substitution; oligo(phenylene ethynylene); self-assembled monolayers; twist angle; X-ray absorption spectroscopy
Self-assembly of proteins on surfaces is utilized in many fields to integrate intricate biological structures and diverse functions with engineered materials. Controlling proteins at bio-solid interfaces relies on establishing key correlations between their primary sequences and resulting spatial organizations on substrates. Protein self-assembly, however, remains an engineering challenge. As a novel approach, we demonstrate here that short dodecapeptides selected by phage display are capable of self-assembly on graphite and form long-range ordered biomolecular nanostructures. Using atomic force microscopy and contact angle studies, we identify three amino-acid domains along the primary sequence that steer peptide ordering and lead to nanostructures with uniformly displayed residues. The peptides are further engineered via simple mutations to control fundamental interfacial processes, including initial binding, surface aggregation and growth kinetics, and intermolecular interactions. Tailoring short peptides via their primary sequence offers versatile control over molecular self-assembly, resulting in well-defined surface properties essential in building engineered, chemically rich, bio-solid interfaces.
molecular self-assembly; inorganic binding peptides; nanotechnology; sequence mutation; atomic force microscopy; molecular recognition; liquid-solid interface
We have investigated the emission properties of N,N'-diheptyl-3,4,9,10-perylenetetracarboxylic diimide thin films by the tunneling-electron-induced light emission technique. A fluorescence peak with vibronic progressions with large Stokes shifts was observed on both highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) and Au substrates, indicating that the emission was derived from the isolated-molecule-like film condition with sufficient π-π interaction of the perylene rings of perylenetetracarboxylic diimide molecules. The upconversion emission mechanism of the tunneling-electron-induced emission was discussed in terms of inelastic tunneling including multiexcitation processes. The wavelength-selective enhanced emission due to a localized tip-induced surface plasmon on the Au substrate was also obtained.
The electrical conductance of single n-alkanethiol and α,ω-alkanedithiol molecules was measured via in situ distance tunneling spectroscopy in aqueous 0.1M KOH solution. The statistical analysis of the conductance values show that the α,ω-alkanedithiol molecule trapped in the STM break junction can adopt two distinct geometries that result in “lower” and “higher” conductivity values. In contrast, n-alkanethiol molecules trapped in the junction show only a single conductivity value characteristic for a particular molecule. Furthermore, the “lower” conductivity value determined for α,ω-alkanedithiol is virtually identical to the electrical conductivity of the n-alkanethiol containing the same number of atoms in the backbone. Moreover when the STM tip is polarized to electrochemical potential preventing a chemical reaction between terminal -SH group and Au, only “lower” conductivity values are observed for α,ω-alkaneditiols.
scanning tunneling distance spectroscopy; electrochemical STM; single molecule conductivity; alkanethiols
The systematic control over surface chemistry is a long-standing challenge in biomedical and nanotechnological applications for graphitic materials. As a novel approach, we utilize graphite-binding dodecapeptides that self-assemble into dense domains to form monolayer thick long-range ordered films on graphite. Specifically, the peptides are rationally designed through their amino acid sequences to predictably display hydrophilic and hydrophobic characteristics while maintaining their self-assembly capabilities on the solid substrate. The peptides are observed to maintain a high tolerance for sequence modification, allowing the control over surface chemistry via their amino acid sequence. Furthermore, through a single step co-assembly of two different designed peptides, we predictably and precisely tune the wettability of the resulting functionalized graphite surfaces from 44 to 83 degrees. The modular molecular structures and predictable behavior of short peptides demonstrated here give rise to a novel platform for functionalizing graphitic materials that offers numerous advantages, including non-invasive modification of the substrate, bio-compatible processing in an aqueous environment, and simple fusion with other functional biological molecules.
Thermal interface materials (TIMs) are crucial components of high density electronics and the high thermal conductivity of graphite makes this material an attractive candidate for such applications. We report an investigation of the in-plane and through-plane electrical and thermal conductivities of thin thermal interface layers of graphite nanoplatelet (GNP) based composites. The in-plane electrical conductivity exceeds its through-plane counterpart by three orders of magnitude, whereas the ratio of the thermal conductivities is about 5. Scanning electron microscopy reveals that the anisotropy in the transport properties is due to the in-plane alignment of the GNPs which occurs during the formation of the thermal interface layer. Because the alignment in the thermal interface layer suppresses the through-plane component of the thermal conductivity, the anisotropy strongly degrades the performance of GNP-based composites in the geometry required for typical thermal management applications and must be taken into account in the development of GNP-based TIMs.
Molecular probes for selective identification of protein aggregates are important to advance our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis underlying cerebral amyloidoses. Here we report the chemical design of pentameric thiophene derivatives, denoted luminescent conjugated oligothiophenes (LCOs), which could be used for real-time visualization of cerebral protein aggregates in transgenic mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases by multiphoton microscopy. One of the LCOs, p-FTAA, showed conformation-dependent optical properties and could be utilized for ex vivo spectral assignment of distinct prion deposits from two mouse-adapted prion strains. p-FTAA also revealed staining of transient soluble pre-fibrillar non-thioflavinophilic Aβ- assemblies during in vitro fibrillation of Aβ peptides. In brain tissue samples, Aβ deposits and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) were readily identified by a strong fluorescence from p-FTAA and the LCO staining showed complete co-localization with conventional antibodies (6E10 and AT8), indicating that p-FTAA detects all the immuno-positive aggregated proteinaceous species in Alzheimer disease, but with significantly shorter imaging time (100 fold) compared to immunofluorescence. In addition, a patchy islet-like staining of individual Aβ plaque was unveiled by the anti-oligomer A11 antibody during co-staining with p-FTAA, suggesting that pre-fibrillar species are likely an intrinsic component of Aβ plaques in human brain. The major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, namely Aβ aggregates versus NFTs could also be distinguished due to distinct emission spectra from p-FTAA. Overall, we demonstrate that LCOs can be utilized as powerful practical research tools for studying protein aggregation diseases and facilitate the study of amyloid origin, evolution and maturation, Aβ−tau interactions and pathogenesis both ex vivo and in vivo.
We present here the first results on the self-assembly of tubules of natural wax from lotus leaves on a single crystal Au(111) surface. A comparison of the tubule growth on Au(111) to that on HOPG is discussed. Although the tubule formation on both Au(111) and HOPG takes place on an intermediate wax film which should mask the substrate properties, the tubule orientations differ. In contrast to a vertical tubule orientation on HOPG, the tubules lie flat on Au(111). Taking into account the physical properties of HOPG and Au(111), we put forward a hypothesis which can explain the different tubule orientations on both substrates.
AFM; Au(111); lotus wax
Two different conformational isoforms or amyloid strains of insulin with different cytotoxic capacity have been described previously. Herein these filamentous and fibrillar amyloid states of insulin were investigated using biophysical and spectroscopic techniques in combination with luminescent conjugated oligothiophenes (LCO). This new class of fluorescent probes has a well defined molecular structure with a distinct number of thiophene units that can adopt different dihedral angles depending on its binding site to an amyloid structure. Based on data from surface charge, hydrophobicity, fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging, along with atomic force microscopy (AFM), we deduce the ultrastructure and fluorescent properties of LCO stained insulin fibrils and filaments. Combined total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFM) and AFM revealed rigid linear fibrous assemblies of fibrils whereas filaments showed a short curvilinear morphology which assemble into cloudy deposits. All studied LCOs bound to the filaments afforded more blue-shifted excitation and emission spectra in contrast to those corresponding to the fibril indicating a different LCO binding site, which was also supported by less efficient hydrophobic probe binding. Taken together, the multi-tool approach used here indicates the power of ultrastructure identification applying AFM together with LCO fluorescence interrogation, including TIRFM, to resolve structural differences between amyloid states.
amyloid proteins; oligomeric amyloid state; pre-fibrillar intermediate state; oligothiophene fluorescence stains; fluorescence assay; TIRFM-AFM
Despite theoretical predictions, the question of room-temperature magnetic order in graphene must be conclusively resolved before graphene can fully achieve its potential as a spintronic medium. Through scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and point I-V measurements, the current study reveals that unlike pristine samples, graphene nanostructures, when functionalized with aryl radicals, can sustain magnetic order. STM images show 1-D and 2-D periodic super-lattices originating from the functionalization of a single sub-lattice of the bipartite graphene structure. Field-dependent super-lattices in 3-nm wide “zigzag” nanoribbons indicate local moments with parallel and anti-parallel ordering along and across the edges, respectively. Anti-parallel ordering is observed in 2-D segments with sizes of over 20 nm. The field dependence of STM images and point I-V curves indicates a spin polarized local density of states (LDOS), an out-of-plane anisotropy field of less than 10 Oe, and an exchange coupling field of 100 Oe at room temperature.
Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) lithography was utilized to investigate a 12-mer HS-ssDNA self-assembled Au (111) surface. Under low sample bias and high tunneling current, the repeated scanning resulted in the growth of nanostripes. The stripe orientation, the stripe width, and the spacer width between adjacent nanostripes were found to be dependent on their relative locations from dislocation points where two adjacent gold terraces overlap. The stripe and the spacer width also vary with the distance from these points. The results indicate that such stripes may reflect the strain distributions and the release pathway along the Au surfaces. The results also suggest that the presence of HS-ssDNA molecules enhances the lithography processes on the gold surface by acting as force transmitters.
Scanning Tunneling microscopy; Lithography; DNA; Strain; Self-assembly
We present a combined approach that relies on computational simulations and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) measurements to reveal morphological properties and stability criteria of carbon nanotube-DNA (CNT-DNA) constructs. Application of STM allows direct observation of very stable CNT-DNA hybrid structures with the well-defined DNA wrapping angle of 63.4° and a coiling period of 3.3 nm. Using force field simulations, we determine how the DNA-CNT binding energy depends on the sequence and binding geometry of a single strand DNA. This dependence allows us to quantitatively characterize the stability of a hybrid structure with an optimal π-stacking between DNA nucleotides and the tube surface and better interpret STM data. Our simulations clearly demonstrate the existence of a very stable DNA binding geometry for (6,5) CNT as evidenced by the presence of a well-defined minimum in the binding energy as a function of an angle between DNA strand and the nanotube chiral vector. This novel approach demonstrates the feasibility of CNT-DNA geometry studies with subnanometer resolution and paves the way towards complete characterization of the structural and electronic properties of drug-delivering systems based on DNA-CNT hybrids as a function of DNA sequence and a nanotube chirality.