Conformation-dependent charge transport through short peptides

Davide Stefani, Cunlan Guo, Luca Ornago, Damien Cabosart, Maria El Abbassi, Mordechai Sheves, David Cahen, Herre S.J. Van Der Zant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We report on charge transport across single short peptides using the Mechanically Controlled Break Junction (MCBJ) method. We record thousands of electron transport events across single-molecule junctions and with an unsupervised machine learning algorithm, we identify several classes of traces with multifarious conductance values that may correspond to different peptide conformations. Data analysis shows that very short peptides, which are more rigid, show conductance plateaus at low conductance values of about 10-3G0 and below, with G0 being the conductance quantum, whereas slightly longer, more flexible peptides also show plateaus at higher values. Fully stretched peptide chains exhibit conductance values that are of the same order as that of alkane chains of similar length. The measurements show that in the case of short peptides, different compositions and molecular lengths offer a wide range of junction conformations. Such information is crucial to understand mechanism(s) of charge transport in and across peptide-based biomolecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3002-3009
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - 7 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

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© The Royal Society of Chemistry.


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