Interaction of Biomolecules with Graphene/Cu Surfaces

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Biofilms are the default state of microbial life, and their formation intrinsically modifies how the growing substrate can influence processes occurring on surfaces such as corrosion. Bacterial adhesion to a surface is a key step in the formation of biofilms and occurs through the reversible bonding of nanofibrous proteins or polysaccharide appendages of bacterial cells to the substrate. This is followed by the secretion of exopolymeric substances resulting in irreversible bonding. Gadhamshetty et al. found that the biofilm structure and corrosion rate of copper coated with single layer hexagonal boron nitride and multi-layer graphene reduced the corrosion rate by forming a barrier against different metabolites. However, single layer graphene/Cu with defects accelerated corrosion compared to pristine copper. This was attributed to the electrical conductivity of graphene and the promotion of galvanic corrosion by the defect sites.1 Thus, the understanding of the effect of different 2D coatings for metallic surfaces, and the role of defects in the surface-biomolecule interaction could provide key insights for engineering better protective coatings to counter biocorrosion. Here we propose to use a combination of molecular dynamics simulations and density functional theory calculations to study the interaction of biomolecules with pristine and defective graphene as well as grapene/Cu surfaces.

First Advisor

Pere Miro

Second Advisor

Bess Vlaisavljevich

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