Molecular Dynamics and Reactivity in Complex and Confined Fluids

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

Of the three states of matter liquids are the most difficult to deal with. The molecules interact with one another all the time (unlike in gases) and yet possess no long range order, and move about all the time (unlike in solids). In the past this has made them hard for scientists to study. As a result much early quantitative research focussed on the gas phase, which is a problem for chemistry and biology, where most important processes actually happen in liquids. Fortunately our understanding of some common liquids has moved forward dramatically in the past few years. This is firstly because of the development of new experimental methods which make it possible to directly observe molecular motion in the liquid state (a technologically significant feat, since these dynamics occur in times of less than one million millionth of a second) and secondly very fast and efficient computer programs make it possible to model liquid dynamics accurately. However, many of the liquids that are most important in chemistry and biology do not behave exactly like the common liquids usually studied. For example some liquids spontaneously form large (hundreds of molecules) structures (the living cell being the most imporant, and most complex, example) or change their properties as a result of some external perturbation. Such liquids, called 'complex fluids', are of great importance, being widespread in nature and in foodstuffs (margarine for example) and having important technological applications (liquid crystals are another example). In the research program described here we will extend the methods used successfully to describe common liquids to investigate for the first time the dynamics of this important class of 'complex' fluids. This will contribute to our understanding of chemical processes in materials and life sciences.

Publications

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Conyard J (2011) Chemically modulating the photophysics of the GFP chromophore. in The journal of physical chemistry. B

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Conyard J (2014) Chemically Optimizing Operational Efficiency of Molecular Rotary Motors in Journal of the American Chemical Society

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Conyard J (2014) Ultrafast excited state dynamics in 9,9'-bifluorenylidene. in The journal of physical chemistry. A

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Heisler IA (2010) Low-frequency isotropic and anisotropic Raman spectra of aromatic liquids. in The Journal of chemical physics

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Heisler IA (2011) Measuring acetic acid dimer modes by ultrafast time-domain Raman spectroscopy. in Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP

 
Description Of the three states of matter liquids are the most difficult to deal with. The molecules interact with one another all the time (unlike in gases) and yet possess no long range order, and move about all the time (unlike in solids). In the past this has made them hard for scientists to study. As a result much early quantitative research focussed on the gas phase, which is a problem for chemistry and biology, where most important processes actually happen in liquids.

We have probed solvation and reaction in molecular liquids, peptides, proteins, complex media and nanomachine components.
Exploitation Route The data will be of interest in modelling chemical reactivity, understanding the role of solvation in biomolecular structure, understanding proton transfer in biology, nanomachine design, food science, etc .
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Education,Healthcare

 
Description The project involved the development of two ultrafast instruments to be the best of their kind in the world. A fully polarisation selective OKE spectrometer was used to probe fundamental molecular dynamics in liquids and aqueous solvation dynamics. The most detailed yet charaterisation of interaction induced interactions in molecular liquids was attained. In aqueous solutions new insights into the structure of water around simple ions was obtained. These measurements were extended to a range of more complex solutes including peptides and proteins, which gave new information on solvation in biology and on the hydrophobic effect. Ultrafast fluorescence was measured with unprecedented time resolution. We used this tool to probe (1) reaction dynamics in nanoconfined aqueous media. (2) Proton transfer in proteins (3) Ultrafast photoresponse of molecular photomotors.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Chemicals,Energy,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Photactive proteins 
Organisation Stony Brook University
Department Department of Chemistry
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Ultrafast measurements and analysis
Collaborator Contribution protein preparation, measurements and analysis
Impact dozens of papers, proceedings and two grants
Start Year 2006
 
Description Photomolecular motor dynamics 
Organisation University of Groningen
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution measurement and analysis of ultrafast data
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis of molecules, analysis
Impact three paper published so far, more to come
Start Year 2011