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Atomic Force Microscopy Measurements of Supramolecular Interactions

Nanotechnology

  1. Bo Song,
  2. Holger Schönherr

Published Online: 15 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470661345.smc186

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

How to Cite

Song, B. and Schönherr, H. 2012. Atomic Force Microscopy Measurements of Supramolecular Interactions. Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials. .

Author Information

  1. University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2012

Abstract

Atomic force microscopy-based single-molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) has matured in the past decade to become a reliable method to probe the rupture of individual supramolecular bonds and to analyze the strength of noncovalent interactions in a wide range of conditions. SMFS undoubtedly also has a major impact on the biophysical field, an area of research that will be excluded from our discussion. Instead, we focus attention on synthetic supramolecular systems. In this chapter, we summarize the fundamental experimental setup and design, discuss strategies to identify single-molecule events, provide some rudimentary theory, and finally illustrate the power of the methodology by discussing selected examples. The examples encompass a broad range of interaction types, and hence interaction strengths and typical time scales, including hydrogen bonding, host–guest interactions, π–π interactions, hydrophobic interactions, and metal–ligand coordination. The force data for simple, binary complexes receive similar attention as highly complex supramolecular systems with multiple bond switches in parallel or in series. Finally, we mention areas of potential further development.

Keywords:

  • atomic force microscopy (AFM);
  • single-molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS);
  • bond strength;
  • hydrogen bonds;
  • supramolecular bonds;
  • interaction strength;
  • energy landscape of unbinding;
  • intermolecular forces