High Resolution Piezoresponse Force Microscopy Study of Self-Assembled Peptide Nanotubes

Publish date :

Dec 27, 2016


Peptide nanotubes based on short dipeptide diphenylalanine (FF) attract a lot of attention due to their unique physical properties ranging from strong piezoelectricity to extraordinary mechanical rigidity. In this work, we present the results of high-resolution Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM) measurements in FF microtubes prepared from the solution. Firstin-situ temperature measurements show that the effective shear piezoelectric coefficient d15 (proportional to axial polarization) significantly decreases (to about half of the initial value) under heating up to 100oC. The piezoresponse becomes inhomogeneous over the surface being higher in the center of the tubes. Further, PFM study of a composite consisting of FF microtubes and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) was performed. We show that piezoelectric properties of peptide microtubes are significantly modified and radial (vertical) piezoresponse appears in the presence of rGO as confirmed via PFM analysis. The results are rationalized in terms of molecular approach in which π – π molecular interaction between rGO and dipeptide is responsible for the appearance of radial component of polarization in such hybrid structures.