Watching two conjugated polymer chains breaking each other when colliding in solution

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


While collision theory successfully describes the kinetics of chemical reactions, very little is known about the processes at the molecular level, especially if the reacting molecules are large. In this study, using single-molecule spectroscopy, we visually observed that collision between two conjugated polymer (CP) molecules in solution leads to simultaneous rupture of both chains. In addition to opening up the possibility of monitoring chemical processes in solution at the single-molecule level, these results demonstrate that mechanical bending of two stiff conjugated backbones against each other (the effect of leverage) by Brownian motion can weaken the chemical bond and markedly accelerate photochemical oxygen-induced chain scission by at least 20 times. The catalytic effect of the chain bending is also enhanced by a prolonged interaction between the chains owing to their entanglement. These findings are important for the solution processing of CPs in their application in organic electronics, for understanding the degradation mechanisms in CPs and for the development of new catalysts based on mechanical interactions with target molecules.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e134
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Pure and Applied Biochemistry (LTH) (011001005), Chemical Physics (S) (011001060)