Design flexibility and modularity have emerged as powerful tools in the development of functional self-assembled peptide nanostructures. In particular, the tendency of peptides to form fibrils and nanotubes has motivated the investigation of electron and, more recently, proton transport in their fibrous films. In this study, we present a detailed characterization by impedance spectroscopy of films of self-assembled cyclic octa-d,l-α-peptide self-assembled nanotubes with amine side chains that promote proton transport. We show that the conductivity of the peptide nanotube film, which is in the range of 0.3 mS cm-1, is within the same order of magnitude as that of ultrathin films of Nafion, a benchmark proton conducting polymer. In addition, we show that while slow diffusion processes at the interface are present for both films, additional interface effects occur in the peptide nanotube films at the same rate as their bulk proton transport effects, further limiting charge transport at the interface. Overall, our studies demonstrate the great potential of using peptides as building blocks for the preparation of bioinspired supramolecular proton conducting polymers with improved conductivity with respect to that of natural systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry