In situ scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) imaging of cytochrome c (cyt c) on polycrystalline Pt surfaces and on Au(111) was achieved first by covalent immobilisation of 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (3-APTS) brought to react with oxide present on the Pt surfaces. Covalently bound 3-APTS forms a further link to glutaric dialdehyde which immobilises the protein molecules. Cyt c is immobilised on Au(111) by reaction with N-acetylcystein and 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide. Imaging by in situ STM in a 20 mM phosphate buffer electrolyte with a Au/AuO(x) reference electrode could then be achieved. Protein was identified as hemispherical features on the surface with close to molecular resolution and with a quite different character compared both to the bare metal surfaces and to metal surfaces with only linker molecules attached. No subunits or side chains were visible, but the protein exhibited a grained surface appearance, possibly caused by mobile subunits or immobilising agent.
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