Xinfeng Quan, Jeffry D. Madura Geoffrey R. Hutchison. “Self-Assembled Monolayer Piezoelectrics - Electric-Field Driven Conformational Changes” arXiv. Online

toc image We demonstrate that an applied electric field causes piezoelectric distortion across single molecular monolayers of oligopeptides. We deposited self-assembled monolayers ~1.5 nm high onto smooth gold surfaces. These monolayers exhibit strong piezoelectric response that varies linearly with applied bias (1-3V), measured using piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM). The response is markedly greater than control experiments with rigid alkanethiols and correlates with surface spectroscopy and theoretical predictions of conformational change from applied electric fields. Unlike existing piezoelectric oxides, our peptide monolayers are intrinsically flexible, easily fabricated, aligned and patterned without poling.