Electrochemical Atomic Force Microscopy and First-Principles Calculations of Ferriprotoporphyrin Adsorption and Polymerization

Jason A. Bennett, Daniel P. Miller, Scott M. Simpson, Marcela Rodriguez, Eva Zurek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The adsorption and subsequent electrooxidative polymerization of ferriprotoporphyrin IX chloride (hemin; FePPCl) was investigated on highly ordered pyrolytic graphite, glassy carbon, and polycrystalline Pt electrodes using electrochemical atomic force microscopy, first-principles calculations, and cyclic voltammetry. Hemin was shown to readily adsorb to all three surfaces; however, it was more continuous over the carbon surfaces compared to the Pt surface. This disparity in adsorption appears to be a major contributing factor to differences observed between the electrodes following hemin electropolymerization. Despite differences in roughness and morphology, hemin polymerized as a continuous layer over each electrode surface. Periodic density functional theory calculations were used to model FePP (without Cl) on both the Pt(111) and graphite surfaces using the vdW-DF-optPBE functional to account for the dispersion interactions. Our calculations suggest that the FePP molecule chemisorbs to the Pt surface while at the same time exhibiting intramolecular hydrogen bonding between the carboxylic acid groups, which are extended away from the surface. In contrast to FePP-Pt chemisorption, FePP was found to physisorb to graphite. The preferred spin state upon adsorption was found to be S = 2 on Pt(111), whereas on graphite, the high and intermediate spin states were nearly isoenergetic. Additionally, gas-phase calculations suggest that much of the surface roughness observed microscopically for the polymerized porphyrin layer may originate from the nonparallel stacking of porphyrin molecules, which interact with each other by forming four intermolecular hydrogen bonds and through dispersion interactions between the stacked porphyrin rings. Regardless of polymer thickness, the underlying electrode appears to be able to participate in at least some redox processes. This was observed for the hemin-polymerized Pt electrode using the 2H+/H2 redox couple and was suspected to be due to some Pt surface atoms not being specifically coordinated to the hemin molecules and therefore available to react with H+ that was small enough to diffuse through the polymer layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11335-11346
Number of pages12
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 25 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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