Incorporating TiO2 Nanotubes With a Peptide of D-amino K122-4 (D) for Enhanced Mechanical and Photocatalytic Properties

Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 26;6:22247. doi: 10.1038/srep22247.


Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotubes are promising for a wide variety of potential applications in energy, biomedical and environmental sectors. However, their low mechanical strength and wide band gap limit their widespread technological use. This article reports our recent efforts to increase the mechanical strength of TiO2 nanotubes with lowered band gap by immobilizing a peptide of D-amino K122-4 (D) onto the nanotubes. Topographies and chemical compositions of the peptide-coated and uncoated TiO2 nanotubular arrays were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Properties of the peptide-coated and uncoated TiO2 nanotubular arrays, including hardness, elastic modulus, electron work function and photocurrent, were evaluated using micromechanical probe, Kelvin Probe and electrochemical system. Effect of the peptide on surface conductivity was also investigated through current mapping and I-V curve analysis with conductive atomic force microscopy. It is demonstrated that the peptide coating simultaneously enhances the mechanical strength, photocatalytic and electrical properties of TiO2 nanotubes.

MeSH terms

  • Catalysis
  • Mechanical Phenomena*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nanotubes / chemistry*
  • Nanotubes / ultrastructure
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Photoelectron Spectroscopy
  • Photolysis*
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium / chemistry*


  • Peptides
  • titanium dioxide
  • Titanium