The adsorption of L-cysteine on gold electrodes was studied by the methods of electrochemical oxidative desorption and Cu2+ complexation. Comparisons with L-cystine adsorption, via the oxidative method, revealed lower saturation surface coverages for L-cystine (1.7 +/- 0.17 nmol cm(-2)) than for L-cysteine (2.7 +/- 0.11 nmol cm(-2)), perhaps due to an incomplete cleavage of the S-S bond on adsorption and consequent effects on molecular orientation. Electrochemistry of solution-phase redox probes at L-cysteine monolayer electrodes have shown a porous open monolayer structure amenable to solvent, electrolyte and probe molecule permeation. Both the L-cysteine- and the L-cystine-derived electrodes were capable of complexation of Cu2+ ions from solution which were then detectable by cyclic voltammetry. The binding constant of Cu2+ ions to the L-cysteine monolayer was estimated to be 2 x 10(5) L mol(-1) while the molar ratios of L-cysteine to Cu2+ on L- cysteine- and L-cystine-derived films were 2 : 1 and 2.5 : 1, respectively. Detection of Cu2+ down to 10(-7) M was possible with cyclic voltammetry, indicating the possible use of such simple films for trace metal analysis.
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