Biomembrane investigations with molecular rotors
Nipper, Matthew Edward
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Molecular Rotors are unique fluorescent reporters that exhibit photoinduced intramolecular rotation. The amount of molecular rotation is a function of the local free volume. This relationship results in a quantum yield that is proportional to the solvent viscosity. Molecular rotors are an ideal candidate for characterizing membrane viscosity because of their excellent temporal and spatial response. Membrane viscosity has shown high correlation with the physiological state of the cell. The magnitude of these changes are minuscule and often below the limit of detection for mechanical methods. Molecular rotors are ideally suited for this application. We have synthesized and characterized molecular rotors for the purpose of membrane viscosity characterization. The primary objective of this research is to progress these efforts by implementing a ratiometric family of molecular rotors. To optimize these efforts, we have constructed a custom spectrophotometer for the purpose of correcting non-ideal optical properties. Furthermore, we have simulated conventional membrane characterization techniques for the purpose of comparison and experiment optimization. Quantification of membrane viscosity may provide a useful tool for researchers and clinicians alike.