Interaction of nucleobases with silicon doped and defective silicon doped graphene and optical properties†
The interaction of nucleobases (NBs) with the surface of silicon doped graphene (SiGr) and defective silicon doped graphene (dSiGr) has been studied using electronic structure methods. A systematic comparison of the calculated interaction energies (adsorption strength) of NBs with the surface of SiGr and dSiGr with those of pristine graphene (Gr) has also been made. The doping of graphene with silicon increases the adsorption strength of NBs. The introduction of defects in SiGr further enhances the strength of interaction with NBs. The appreciable stability of complexes (SiGr-NBs and dSiGr-NBs) arises due to the partial electrostatic and covalent (Si⋯O(N)) interaction in addition to π–π stacking. The interaction energy increases with the size of graphene models. The strong interaction between dSiGr-NBs and concomitant charge transfer causes significant changes in the electronic structure of dSiGr in contrast to Gr and SiGr. Further, the calculated optical properties of all the model systems using time dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) reveal that absorption spectra of SiGr and dSiGr undergo appreciable changes after adsorption of NBs. Thus, the significant variations in the HOMO–LUMO gap and absorption spectra of dSiGr after interaction with the NBs can be exploited for possible applications in the sensing of DNA nucleobases.