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Scientific article
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Single-Molecule Force Measurements by Nano-Handling of Individual Dendronized Polymers

Published inACS Nano, vol. 8, no. 3, p. 2237-2245
Publication date2014
Abstract

A nano-handling technique based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) is presented that allows reliable measuring of force–extension profiles of single-polymer molecules. The basis of the method is a properly functionalized solid substrate, to which a small amount of the polymers in question is adsorbed. The sample is first imaged in amplitude modulation mode in solution with a functionalized AFM cantilever, and a polymer chain is picked up with the AFM tip at one of the ends of the polymer molecule. Force curves are recorded by stretching the attached polymer molecule many times. After the force experiments, the molecule is imaged again. In this fashion, one can ascertain that the force experiments are truly carried out with one individual molecule. With this technique, the force response of amino-functionalized dendronized polymers was studied and it could be accurately described by the freely jointed chain model with chain elasticity. A monotonic dependence of the mechanical properties of these polymers up to generation 4 was found. The elastic constant was independent of the generation and solution composition. On the other hand, the effective Kuhn length increased with the generation at higher salt concentrations. The mechanical response of dendronized polymers can be tuned with solution composition.

Keywords
  • Single molecule
  • Dendronized polymers
  • Dendron
  • Force spectroscopy
  • Scanning probe microscopy
  • Atomic force microscopy
Citation (ISO format)
GREBIKOVA, Lucie et al. Single-Molecule Force Measurements by Nano-Handling of Individual Dendronized Polymers. In: ACS Nano, 2014, vol. 8, n° 3, p. 2237–2245. doi: 10.1021/nn405485h
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ISSN of the journal1936-086X
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