skip to primary navigationskip to content

Invited editorial in Chem: Harnessing entropy in single-molecule force spectroscopy with semiconducting polymers

last modified Feb 09, 2018 11:46 AM
Dr A. Zaccone

An invited editorial by CEB's Dr Alessio Zaccone has been published in the leading chemistry journal Chem, launched in 2016 by Cell Press as the chemistry niece of the journal Cell. The editorial by Dr Zaccone addresses a recent experimental breakthrough obtained in the group of Joris Sprakel at the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands. Sprakel et al. devised a new method which allows, for the first time, the measurement of femtonewton forces at the molecular level. The mechanism is based on the light-emitting properties of semiconducting polymers, as explained in the Figure. The method allows the measurement of elusive ultra-weak entropic forces in the molecular domain, and also was used by Sprakel et al. to confirm earlier theoretical predictions by Dr Zaccone on the dynamics of polymers under deformation at the molecular scale.

Harnessing Entropy in Single-Molecule Force Spectroscopy with Semiconducting Polymers Alessio Zaccone, Chem, Volume 4, Issue 2, p191–193, 8 February 2018.


illustration chem
Figure caption: A conductive conjugated polymer chain is doped with acceptor/donor monomers and stimulated with light. Transition to a higher energy level of a donor monomer is excited by the applied radiation. If the donor is surrounded by other donors only, the excited state decays via an internal photon emission process within the donor monomer, with rate kD. When an acceptor monomer is sufficiently close to a donor monomer, instead, the excitation energy can be transferred from the donor to the acceptor which then emits a photon, via Förster resonant energy transfer, with rate kET. Differences due to the chain conformation can thus be recorded in the grayscale emission spectrum which can be used to quantitatively infer back the mechanical force acting on the polymer molecule.

Share this

RSS Feed Latest news

Scientific heirloom awarded to Dr Owens

Mar 13, 2019

Dr Róisín Owens recognised at the Engineering & Physical Sciences Suffrage Science Awards at the Royal Society on International Women’s Day 2019.

International Women's Day celebration at CEB

Mar 11, 2019

Department members rallied around to celebrate International Women's Day with a specially designed cake.

Andrew Fellowship awarded to Dr Zheng

Mar 06, 2019

Dr Qingyuan Zheng awarded the Andrew Fellowship by the IChemE

View all news

Upcoming events

Machine learning and AI in (bio)chemical engineering

Jul 08, 2019

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge, CB3 0AS

Stokes200 Symposium

Sep 15, 2019

Pembroke College, Cambridge

VPF8 Viscoplastic Fluids: from Theory to Application 2019

Sep 16, 2019

Jesus College, Cambridge

Upcoming events