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PGI-1 Talk: Maristella Coppola

Mechanically Controllable Break Junction: a tool for investigating the electronic properties of peptides and proteins at single molecule level

15 Feb 2017 11:30
PGI Lecture Hall

ICS-8/PGI-8 Bioelectronics, Forschungszentrum Jülich


In 1974 A. Aviram and M. Ratner suggested how a single molecule can work as rectifier. This work opened a complete new field of research, the molecular electronics, with the goal to build computers based on molecules as electrical components. Therefore to understand the electrical properties, and moreover to study the electron transfer mechanisms at molecular level attracted a lot of efforts from researchers. In the last decade experiments addressing electrical properties of single molecules have become more reliable, reproducible, which allowed discovering of quantum effects and suggested practical applications.The Mechanically Controllable Break Junction (MCBJ) has several unique advantages as investigation method in this field. In this approach, a molecule is wired, via covalent bonds, between two metal electrodes, whose distance can be tuned precisely down to picometer resolution. MCBJ enables us to investigate the electrical properties of molecular insulators, wires, diodes, and molecular switches. Our work focuses on studies of transport phenomena in junction with biomolecules because, in addition to the scalability, they have appealing native functions such as recognition and catalytic activity, promising novel and innovative applications. In particular, we are interested in understanding of electron transport in oligopeptides via MCBJ and describing how both length and composition of the primary structure influences the electron transport. Furthermore it will be attractive to test the effect of inclusion of a metal ion and of a prosthetic group (heme group for instance) on the electron transport at single molecule level. In this respect we chose a class of novel molecules, the Mimochromes, for our investigations. These are designed and synthesized in order to mimic both the secondary structure and the catalytic activity of the natural peroxidases.


Prof. Dr. Stefan Blügel
Phone: +49 2461 61-4249
Fax: +49 2461 61-2850