DNA bases assembled on the Au(110)/electrolyte interface: A combined experimental and theoretical study

Princia Salvatore, Renat R. Nazmutdinov, Jens Ulstrup, Jingdong Zhang

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Among the low-index single-crystal gold surfaces, the Au(110) surface is the most active toward molecular adsorption and the one with fewest electrochemical adsorption data reported. Cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemically controlled scanning tunneling microscopy (EC-STM), and density functional theory (DFT) calculations have been employed in the present study to address the adsorption of the four nucleobases adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T), on the Au(110)-electrode surface. Au(110) undergoes reconstruction to the (1 × 3) surface in electrochemical environment, accompanied by a pair of strong voltammetry peaks in the double-layer region in acid solutions. Adsorption of the DNA bases gives featureless voltammograms with lower double-layer capacitance, suggesting that all the bases are chemisorbed on the Au(110) surface. Further investigation of the surface structures of the adlayers of the four DNA bases by EC-STM disclosed lifting of the Au(110) reconstruction, specific molecular packing in dense monolayers, and pH dependence of the A and G adsorption. DFT computations based on a cluster model for the Au(110) surface were performed to investigate the adsorption energy and geometry of the DNA bases in different adsorbate orientations. The optimized geometry is further used to compute models for STM images which are compared with the recorded STM images. This has provided insight into the physical nature of the adsorption. The specific orientations of A, C, G, and T on Au(110) and the nature of the physical adsorbate/surface interaction based on the combination of the experimental and theoretical studies are proposed, and differences from nucleobase adsorption on Au(111)-and Au(100)-electrode surfaces are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)3123-3134
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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