Publication I August 17, 2006
Electrical manipulation of oligonucleotides grafted to charged surfaces
The electrical manipulation of short DNA molecules on surfaces offers novel functionalities with fascinating possibilities in the field of bio-interfaces. Here we present systematic investigations of the electrical interactions which govern the structure of oligonucleotides on charged gold surfaces. Successively, we address influences of the applied field strength, the role of DC electrode potentials, in particular for polycrystalline surfaces, as well as screening effects of the surrounding electrolyte solution. Data obtained for single and double stranded DNA exhibit differences which can be attributed to the dissimilar flexibility of the different molecular conformations. A comparison of the experimental results with a basic model shows how the alignment of the molecules adjusts according to a balance between electrically induced ordering and stochastic thermal motions. The presented conclusions are expected to be of general relevance for the behaviour of polyelectrolytes exposed to localized electric fields at interfaces.