Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

Determination of accessible amino groups on surfaces by chemical derivatization with 3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl isothiocyanate and XPS/NEXAFS analysis.

PMID 19890629


The determination of amino groups on surfaces capable of binding biomolecules is important for the understanding and optimization of technologically relevant coupling processes. In this study, three different types of amino-functionalized model surfaces, amino thiolate on Au, amino siloxane on Si, and polyethylene (PE) foils and films reacted with 1,2-diaminoethane (DAE) were derivatized with 3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl isothiocyanate. Subsequently, these samples were analyzed by chemical derivatization X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (CD-XPS) and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (NEXAFS). The determination of amino groups by this analytical approach allows gaining insight into the availability of groups on surfaces that can actually serve as attachment sites for biomolecules in technical applications. In the case of the amino thiolate on Au, almost 90% of the expected amino groups were detected by CD-XPS. Investigation of the amino siloxane films revealed lower yields for the derivatization reaction in the order of 30%. The lowered reaction yields are thought to be due to interactions between the amino siloxane's amino and silanol groups or the underlying substrate, making them inaccessible to the derivatization agent. The aminated PE samples are characterized by a complex surface chemistry and structure, and reaction yields of the derivatization reaction cannot be unequivocally derived. However, 1-3% of the total carbon atoms in the surface layer were found to be bound to amino groups accessible to the derivatization agent. It can be concluded that, depending on the detailed character of the investigated amino-terminated surface, the amount of amino groups accessible to CD-XPS can be substantially lower than the total amount of amino groups present at the surface.