Linear dichroism of DNA: Characterization of the orientation distribution function caused by hydrodynamic shear

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4 Scopus citations


Linear dichroism provides information on the orientation of chromophores part of, or bound to, an orientable molecule such as DNA. For molecular alignment induced by hydrodynamic shear, the principal axes orthogonal to the direction of alignment are not equivalent. Thus, the magnitude of the flow-induced change in absorption for light polarized parallel to the direction of flow can be more than a factor of two greater than the corresponding change for light polarized perpendicular to both that direction and the shear axis. The ratio of the two flow-induced changes in absorption, the dichroic increment ratio, is characterized using the orthogonal orientation model, which assumes that each absorbing unit is aligned parallel to one of the principal axes of the apparatus. The absorption of the alienable molecules is characterized by components parallel and perpendicular to the orientable axis of the molecule. The dichroic increment ratio indicates that for the alignment of DNA in rectangular flow cells, average alignment is not uniaxial, but for higher shear, as produced in a Couette cell, it can be. The results from the simple model are identical to tensor models for typical experimental configurations. Approaches for measuring the dichroic increment ratio with modern dichrometers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
StatePublished - Apr 15 2017


  • Couette cell
  • DNA ligands
  • Dichroic increment ratio
  • Equivalent orthogonal orientation
  • Photoelastic modulator
  • Polarized absorption
  • Scalene ellipsoid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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