Fast diffusing cysteine molecules on the Au surface can be regarded as a 2D molecular gas. Molecular “evaporation” and “condensation” from the gas on the surface morphological features takes place continuously. This process leads progressively to the formation of a number of stable arrangements, not previously reported, like single-molecular rows, trimmers and 2D islands. The long-range order process of the single amino-acid on gold surface is driven by the formation of stable electrostatic interactions between adjacent molecules.
This work is the result of a collaboration between the Centro de Astrobiología and ESiSNA group. These results have been published in Langmuir.