Rupture Force of Single Supramolecular Bonds in Associative Polymers by AFM at Fixed Loading Rates

Anika Embrechts, Holger Schönherr, G. Julius Vancso

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Atomic-force-microscopy-based single-molecule force spectroscopy (AFM-SMFS) was used to study the bond strength of self-complementary hydrogen-bonded complexes based on the 2-ureido-4[1H]-pyrimidinone (UPy) quadruple H-bond motif in hexadecane (HD). The unbinding force corresponding to single UPy−UPy dimers was investigated at a fixed piezo retraction rate in the nonequilibrium loading rate regime. The rupture force of bridging supramolecular polymer chains formed between UPy-functionalized substrates and AFM tips in the presence of a bis-UPy derivative was found to decrease with increasing rupture length. The rupture length was identified as the chain length of single, associating polymers, which allowed us to determine the number of supramolecular bonds (N) at rupture. The rupture force observed as a function of N was in quantitative agreement with the theory on uncooperative bond rupture for supramolecular linkages switched in a series. Hence, the value of the dimer equilibrium constant Keq = (1.3 ± 0.5) × 109 M−1, which is in good agreement with previously estimated values, was obtained by SMFS of supramolecular polymers at a single loading rate
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7359-7362
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of physical chemistry B
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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