Chemical Sciences

Molecular Interactions

Molecular forces determine the physico-chemical properties of various forms of matter such as gases, liquids and solids. The major focus of this virtual lab is to provide a thorough grounding in the fundamental concepts of molecular forces (without using quantum mechanical principles) to undergraduate students and introduce them to the optical and magnetic tweezer experimental techniques that are used to measure molecular forces.

The most stable geometry of a molecule is determined by the balance of attractive and repulsive forces between its atoms. The interactions between the atoms of a molecule can be split into two groups, bonded and non-bonded interactions. In the former group all intramolecular interactions such as bonds, angles and dihedrals are being taken care of, whereas in the latter interactions such as Van der Waals and electrostatics are considered.

The aim of this lab is to use optical and magnetic tweezer experiments to understand the nature of molecular forces and associated parameters that quantify the strengths of these atomic interactions.