Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Related Techniques

  • Robert J. FalconerEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_10062-1



Differential scanning calorimetry determines the heat capacity of a sample at different temperatures by increasing (or decreasing) the temperature of a sample in a linear manner and measuring the power required to reach the required temperature. It can detect transitions within a sample which are associated with a change in heat capacity or a change in enthalpy. Adaptations for use in isothermal modes lead to additional techniques such as titration calorimetry (ITC), pressure perturbation calorimetry (PPC), and photocalorimetry.


Measurement of heat capacity using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) has broad application in studying macromolecules and biomaterials. For biophysical studies there are two relevant DSC designs. Firstly, adiabatic differential scanning microcalorimetry instruments designed for aqueous samples. These instruments have capillary or cell sample holders suitable for liquids and have a temperature...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies’ Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemical and Biological EngineeringThe University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Alan Cooper
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Chemistry, University of GlasgowGlasgowUK