A chemo-mechanical tweezer for single-molecular characterization of soft materials

Jun Guo, Guojun Chen, Xinghai Ning, Xiuru Li, Jianfeng Zhou, Anna Jagielska, Bingqian Xu, Geert-Jan Boons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A new atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based chemo-mechanical tweezer has been developed that can measure mechanical properties of individual macromolecules in supramolecular assembly and reveal positions of azide-containing polymers. A key feature of the new technology is the use of an AFM tip densely modified with 4-dibenzocyclooctynols (chemo-mechanical tweezer) that can react with multiple azide containing macromolecules of micelles to give triazole "clicked" compounds, which during retracting phases of AFM imaging are removed from the macromolecular assembly thereby providing a surface topographical image and positions of azide-containing polymers. The force-distance curves gave mechanical properties of removal of individual molecules from a supramolecular assembly. The new chemo-mechanical tweezer will make it possible to characterize molecular details of macromolecular assemblies thereby offering new avenues to tailor properties of such assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4568-74
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry-A European Journal
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2012


  • Azides
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Polymers
  • Triazoles


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