Phosphate vibrations probe local electric fields and hydration in Biomolecules

Nicholas M. Levinson, Erin E. Bolte, Carrie S. Miller, Steven A. Corcelli, Steven G. Boxer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The role of electric fields in important biological processes such as binding and catalysis has been studied almost exclusively by computational methods. Experimental measurements of the local electric field in macromolecules are possible using suitably calibrated vibrational probes. Here we demonstrate that the vibrational transitions of phosphate groups are highly sensitive to an electric field and show how that sensitivity can be quantified, allowing electric field measurements to be made in phosphate-containing biological systems without chemical modification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13236-13239
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 31 2011


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