Molecular Weight Determination by Counting Molecules
Journal article, 2015

Molecular weight (MW) is one of the most important characteristics of macromolecules. Sometimes, MW cannot be measured correctly by conventional methods like gel permeation chromatography (GPC) due to, for example, aggregation. We propose using single-molecule spectroscopy to measure the average MW simply by counting individual fluorescent molecules embedded in a thin matrix film at known mass concentration. We tested the method on dye molecules, a labeled protein, and the conjugated polymer MEH-PPV. We showed that GPC with polystyrene calibration overestimates the MW of large MEH-PPV molecules by 40 times due to chain aggregation and stiffness. This is a crucial observation for understanding correlations between the conjugated polymer length, photophysics and performances of devices. The method can measure the MW of fluorescent molecules, biological objects, and nanoparticles at ultimately low concentrations and does not need any reference; it is conformation-independent and has no limitations regarding the detected MW range.


Yuxi Tian

Lund University

Marina V. Kuzimenkova

Lund University

Johannes Halle

Lund University

Michal Wojdyr

Lund University

Amaia Diaz de Zerio Mendaza

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Polymer Technology

Per-Olof Larsson

Lund University

Christian Müller

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Polymer Technology

Ivan Scheblykin

Lund University

Journal of Physical Chemistry A

1089-5639 (ISSN) 1520-5215 (eISSN)

Vol. 6 6 923-927

Subject Categories

Polymer Chemistry



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