PFV (protein film voltammetry) allows kinetic analysis of redox and coupled-chemical events. However, the voltammograms report on the electron transfer through a flow of electrical current such that simultaneous spectroscopy is required for chemical insights into the species involved. Mesoporous nanocrystalline SnO2 electrodes provide opportunities for such ‘spectroelectrochemical’ analyses through their high surface area and optical transparency at visible wavelengths. Here, we illustrate kinetic and mechanistic insights that may be afforded by working with such electrodes through studies of Escherichia coli NrfA, a pentahaem cytochrome with nitrite and nitric oxide reductase activities. In addition, we demonstrate that the ability to characterize electrocatalytically active protein films by MCD (magnetic circular dichroism) spectroscopy is an advance that should ultimately assist our efforts to resolve catalytic intermediates in many redox enzymes.

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