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Micromachines 2011, 2(1), 1-16; doi:10.3390/mi2010001
Article

Controlling Interfacial Adhesion of Self-Assembled Polypeptide Fibrils for Novel Nanoelectromechanical System (NEMS) Applications

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Received: 25 November 2010 / Revised: 17 December 2010 / Accepted: 5 January 2011 / Published: 17 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Assembly)
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Abstract

The relative adhesion of two genetically engineered polypeptides termed as H6-(YEHK)x21-H6 and C6-(YEHK)X21-H6 has been investigated following growth and self-assembly on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG), SiO2, Ni, and Au substrates to study covalent surface attachment via histidine (H) and cysteine (C) groups incorporated in the polypeptides. Both polypeptides formed predominantly bilayer fibrils upon deposition, in agreement with previous studies. The relative adhesion of polypeptide fibrils to the substrate, as well as intra-fibril cohesion, was examined via a forced-scanning method employing contact mode atomic force microscopy (AFM). H6-(YEHK)x21-H6 polypeptide fibrils were observed to detach from Ni, Au, SiO2, and HOPG substrates at normal tip forces of 106 ± 10 nN, 21 ± 3 nN, 22 ± 3 nN, and 3 ± 1 nN, respectively. C6-(YEHK)x21-H6 polypeptide fibrils were seen to detach from Au substrates at a normal spring force of 90 ± 10 nN. It is concluded that the H6-(YEHK)x21-H6 and C6-(YEHK)x21-H6 polypeptide fibrils are covalently attached to, respectively, Ni and Au substrates, which has important implications for the use of these materials for NEMS fabrication. The structural stability of deposited polypeptide fibrils was also evaluated by using normal tip forces less than those required for fibril detachment. H6-(YEHK)x21-H6 polypeptide fibrils on Ni substrates were the most structurally stable compared to C6-(YEHK)x21-H6 polypeptide fibrils on Au substrates. Controlled delayering of bilayer fibrils was also detected for sub-detachment normal forces.
Keywords: peptides; assembly; adhesion peptides; assembly; adhesion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Rana, N.; Kossow, C.; Eisenbraun, E.T.; Geer, R.E.; Kaloyeros, A.E. Controlling Interfacial Adhesion of Self-Assembled Polypeptide Fibrils for Novel Nanoelectromechanical System (NEMS) Applications. Micromachines 2011, 2, 1-16.

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