Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Single molecule spectroscopy of polyfluorene chains reveals β-phase content and phase reversibility in organic solvents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conjugated polymers are an important class of organic semiconductors that can be deposited from solution to make optoelectronic devices. Among them, poly(9,9′-dioctylfluorene) (PFO) has distinctive optical properties arising from its ability to adopt an ordered planar conformation (β phase) from a disordered glassy phase (α phase). The β phase has attractive optical properties, but the precise mechanism of its formation in solution remains unknown. Here, we have combined specifically tailored polymer synthesis and surface-passivation strategies to provide the first spectroscopic characterization of single PFO chains in solution at room temperature. By anchoring PFO molecules at one end on an anti-adherent surface, we show that isolated chains can adopt the β-phase conformation in a solvent-dependent manner. Furthermore, we find that individual PFO chains can reversibly switch multiple times between phases in response to solvent-exchange events. The methodology presented here for polymer synthesis and immobilization is widely applicable to investigate other luminescent polymers.


Original languageEnglish
VolumeIn press
Early online date9 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Oct 2019

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Unveiling the multi-step solubilization mechanism of sub-micron size vesicles by detergents

    Dalgarno, P. A., Juan-Colás, J., Hedley, G. J., Piñeiro, L., Novo, M., Perez-Gonzalez, C., Samuel, I. D. W., Leake, M., Johnson, S., Al-Soufi, W., Penedo-Esteiro, J. C. & Quinn, S. D., 9 Sep 2019, In: Scientific Reports. 9, 10 p., 12897.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Real-time observation of conformational switching in single conjugated polymer chains

    Tenopala Carmona, F., Fronk, S., Bazan, G. C., Samuel, I. D. W. & Penedo-Esteiro, J. C., 16 Feb 2018, In: Science Advances. 4, 2, p. 1-12 12 p., eaao5786.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Morphology-specific inhibition of β-amyloid aggregates by 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 10

    Aitken, L., Quinn, S. D., Perez-Gonzalez, D. C., Samuel, I. D. W., Penedo-Esteiro, J. C. & Gunn-Moore, F. J., 2 Jun 2016, In: ChemBioChem. 17, 11, p. 1029-1037

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. The phosphorylation of Hsp20 enhances its association with amyloid-β to increase protection against neuronal cell death

    Cameron, R. T., Quinn, S. D., Cairns, L. S., MacLeod, R., Samuel, I. D. W., Smith, B. O., Penedo, C. & Baillie, G. S., Jul 2014, In: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 61, p. 46-55 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Real-time probing of β-amyloid self-assembly and inhibition using fluorescence self-quenching between neighbouring dyes

    Quinn, S. D., Dalgarno, P. A., Cameron, R. T., Hedley, G. J., Hacker, C., Lucocq, J. M., Samuel, I. D. W. & Penedo, C., Jan 2014, In: Molecular BioSystems. 10, 1, p. 34-44 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Enhancing exciton diffusion length provides new opportunities for organic photovoltaics

    Sajjad, M. T., Ruseckas, A. & Samuel, I. D. W., 5 Aug 2020, In: Matter. 3, 2, p. 341-354

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

ID: 260458465