Peptide engineered microcantilevers for selective chemical force microscopy and monitoring of nanoparticle capture

Martin Munz, Angelo Bella, Santanu Ray, Nia C. Bell, Alexander G. Shard, Caterina Minelli

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Engineered peptides capable of binding to silica have been used to provide contrast in chemical force microscopy and tested for their capacity to selectively capture silica nanoparticles (NPs). Gold coated atomic force microscopy (AFM) microcantilevers with integrated tips and colloidal probes were functionalized with engineered peptides through a thiol group of a terminal cysteine which was linked via a glycine trimer to a 12-mer binding sequence. The functionalized probes demonstrated a significantly increased binding force on silicon oxide areas of a gold-patterned silicon wafer, whereas plain gold probes, and those functionalized with a random permutation of the silica binding peptide motif or an all-histidine sequence displayed similar adhesion forces to gold and silicon oxide. As the functionalized probes also allowed contact mode imaging subsequently to the adhesion mapping, also the associated friction contrast was measured and found to be similar to the adhesion contrast. Furthermore, the adsorption of silica NPs onto planar gold surfaces functionalized in the same manner was observed to be selective. Notably, the surface coverage with silica NPs was found to decrease with increasing pH, implying the importance of electrostatic interactions between the peptide and the NPs. Finally, the adsorption of silica NPs was monitored via the decrease in fundamental resonance frequency of an AFM microcantilever functionalized with silica binding peptides.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number04B312
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2016


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