Excessive Counterion Condensation on Immobilized ssDNA in Solutions of High Ionic Strength
We present experiments on the bias-induced release of immobilized, single-stranded (ss) 24-mer oligonucleotides from Au-surfaces into electrolyte solutions of varying ionic strength. Desorption is evidenced by fluorescence measurements of dye-labeled ssDNA. Electrostatic interactions between adsorbed ssDNA and the Au-surface are investigated with respect to 1), a variation of the bias potential applied to the Au-electrode; and 2), the screening effect of the electrolyte solution. For the latter, the concentration of monovalent salt in solution is varied from 3 to 1600 mM. We find that the strength of electric interaction is predominantly determined by the effective charge of the ssDNA itself and that the release of DNA mainly occurs before the electrochemical double layer has been established at the electrolyte/Au interface. In agreement with Manning's condensation theory, the measured desorption efficiency (Î·rel) stays constant over a wide range of salt concentrations; however, as the Debye length is reduced below a value comparable to the axial charge spacing of the DNA, Î·rel decreases substantially. We assign this effect to excessive counterion condensation on the DNA in solutions of high ionic strength. In addition, the relative translational diffusion coefficient of ssDNA in solution is evaluated for different salt concentrations.