Long-range order of organized oligonucleotide monolayers on Au(111) electrodes

Hainer Wackerbarth, Mikala Grubb, Jingdong Zhang, Allan Glargaard Hansen, Jens Ulstrup

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Oligonucleotides modified by a hexamethylene linker group adsorb on gold electrodes via Au-S bond formation. We have obtained novel data for adsorption of thiol-modified (HS) single-strand HS-10A and double-stranded HS-10AT oligonucleotides and for analogous thiol-free 10A (A = adenine) and 10T (T = thymine) nonspecifically adsorbed as reference molecules. Mercaptohexanol has served as a second reference molecule. The data are based on cyclic and differential pulse voltammetry, interfacial capacitance data, and in situ scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) directly in an aqueous buffer solution, with electrochemical potential control of both the sample electrode and the tip. All the data are based on single-crystal, atomically planar Au(111)-electrode surfaces. The high sensitivity of such surfaces provides accurate HS-10A and HS-10AT electrode coverages on the basis of the reductive desorption of the Au-S bond. The coverage is high and in keeping with dense monolayers of adsorbed HS-10A and HS-10AT in an upright or tilted orientation, with the oligonucleotide backbone repelled from the strongly negatively charged electrode surface. Adsorbed thiol-free 10A only gives aAu(111)-reconstruction peak, while 10T shows a subtle pattern involving pronounced voltammetric adsorption peaks indicative of both nonspecific adsorption via single thymine units and potential-dependent structural reorganization in the surface layer. In situ STM supports these findings at the molecular level. In situ STM of HS-10A discloses large, highly ordered domains at strongly negative sample potentials. Reversible domain formation and disordering could, moreover, be controlled by an electrochemical potential variation in the negative and positive directions, respectively. 10A and 10T did not form ordered adsorbate domains, substantiating that domain formation rests on adsorption of thiol-modified oligonucleotide adsorption in an upright or tilted orientation. The comprehensive, high-resolution information reported may hold prospects for single-molecule electronic conduction and molecular-scale mapping of oligonucleotide hybridization.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1647-1655
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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