Photoemission and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure studies of the bacterial surface protein layer of Bacillus sphaericus NCTC 9602

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The electronic structure of the regular, two-dimensional bacterial surface protein layer of Bacillus sphaericus NCTC 9602 has been examined by photoemission (PE) and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy. Both the O 1s and the N 1s core-level PE spectra show a single structure, whereas the C 1s core-level spectrum appears manifold, suggesting similar chemical states for each oxygen atom and also for each nitrogen atom, while carbon atoms exhibit a range of chemical environments in the different functional groups of the amino acids. This result is supported by the element-specific NEXAFS spectra of the unoccupied valence electronic states, which exhibit a series of characteristic NEXAFS peaks that can be assigned to particular molecular orbitals of the amino acids by applying a phenomenological building-block model. The relative contributions of the C-O, C-N, and C-C bond originating signals into the C 1s PE spectrum are in good agreement with the number ratios of the corresponding bonds calculated from the known primary structure of the bacterial surface protein. First interpretation of the PE spectrum of the occupied valence states is achieved on the basis of electronic density-of-states calculations performed for small peptides. It was found that mainly the pi clouds of the aromatic rings contribute to both the lowest unoccupied and the highest occupied molecular orbitals.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18620-18627
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2005

External IDs

PubMed 16853396
Scopus 26944498651



  • Inner-shell excitation, S-layer, Nanoparticle arrays, Electronic states, Glycyl-glycine, Superconductivity, Spectroscopy, Organization, Fabrication, Spectra