A generic method is described for the reversible immobilization of polyhistidine-bearing polypeptides and proteins on attenuated total reflecting (ATR) sensor surfaces for the detection of biomol. interactions by FTIR spectroscopy. Nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) groups are covalently attached to self-assembled monolayers of either thioalkanes on gold films or mercaptosilanes on silicon dioxide films deposited on germanium internal reflection elements. Complex formation between Ni2+ ions and NTA groups activates the ATR sensor surface for the selective binding of polyhistidine sequences. This approach not only allows a stable and reversible immobilization of histidine-tagged peptides (His-peptides) but also simultaneously allows the direct in situ quantification of surface-adsorbed mols. from their specific FTIR spectral bands. The surface concns. of both NTA and His-peptide on silanized surfaces were detd. to be 1.1 and 0.4 mols. nm-2, resp., which means that the surface is densely covered. A comparison of exptl. FTIR spectra with simulated spectra reveals a surface-enhancement effect of one order of magnitude for the gold surfaces. With the presented sensor surfaces, new ways are opened up to investigate, in situ and with high sensitivity and reproducibility, protein-ligand, protein-protein, protein-DNA interactions, and DNA hybridization by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. [on SciFinder (R)]