Encyclopedia of Biophysics

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

Vibrational Circular Dichroism of Biopolymers

  • Timothy A. KeiderlingEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_125-1



Vibrational circular dichroism is experimentally measured as the differential absorption of left and right circularly polarized light caused by excitation of molecular vibrational transitions in a chiral environment. In biopolymers, this can be used for secondary structure determinations and arises primarily from coupling of repeating (locally achiral) units in the polymer (e.g., amides in proteins, bases and phosphates in nucleic acids). It can also detect formation of some fibrils.

Basic Characteristics

Vibrational circular dichroism (VCD) is a manifestation of chirality or handedness of molecular vibrational transitions, which is expressed as ΔA = AL − ARand measured in the infrared (IR) region with purpose-built or modified FTIR spectrometers that encompass polarization sensitivity for detection of differential absorbance. The dominant use of VCD at present, which...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Andreas Barth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Arrhenius LaboratoriesStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden