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Title:Single molecule studies of flexible polymer systems
Author(s):Brockman, Christopher A.
Director of Research:Schroeder, Charles M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Schroeder, Charles M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Higdon, Jonathan J.L.; Kenis, Paul J.A.; Ewoldt, Randy H.
Department / Program:Chemical & Biomolecular Engr
Discipline:Chemical Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Fluorescence microscopy
single molecule dynamics
Abstract:Polymeric materials play a profound role in our daily lives. There have been many key advances in polymer processing over the last several decades, but much of the underlying molecular behavior and physics of polymer solutions is not fully understood. Single molecule studies of polymer solutions provide an avenue for studying polymer dynamics and can aid in developing new molecular models of dynamic behavior. For nearly two decades, fluorescentlylabeled double stranded DNA (dsDNA) has been the model system for studying single molecule polymer dynamics in non-equilibrium conditions; however, dsDNA is a semiflexible polymer with markedly different local molecular properties compared to flexible polymer chains, such as synthetic organic polymers. This thesis presents a new methodology for studying truly flexible polymers at the single molecule level. We have demonstrated the ability to synthesize long strands of fluorescentlylabeled ssDNA, and we directly imaged single ssDNA polymers stretching in fluid flows in microfluidic devices (Chapter 2). In addition, we have developed an automated flow-based method to isolate individual polymer chains for long periods of time in planar extensional flow (Chapter 3). By combining the tools we developed we were able to study the longest polymer relaxation time dynamics of flexible polymers (Chapter 4), and utilizing both Brownian dynamics simulations and single molecule experiments, we were able to study the relaxation dynamics of flexible chains. In addition, we were able to use to automated hydrodynamic trap to study dynamics of polymers in precisely controlled flow conditions that have not been studied previously (Chapter 6), as well as the dynamics of a different class of materials: ring polymers.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Christopher Brockman
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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