Vibrational Dipole-Dipole Coupling and Long-Range Forces between Macromolecules

Karthik Sasihithlu, Gregory D. Scholes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Long-range interactions between biomacromolecules are considered important for directing intracellular processes. Recent studies have posited that interactions between oscillating dipoles are well-suited to mediating long-range forces because they are weakly screened by a dielectric environment. Here, we extend these studies and present a quantum electrodynamic mechanism for resonant interactions between vibrational transition dipole moments of molecules. We explicitly consider the molecular charge density oscillations as IR transition dipoles. This gives a physical, molecular assignment to the idea of oscillating dipoles and allows us to develop explicit expressions for the interactions that can be quantified using parameters known from experiment. Moreover, in the same framework, we can describe van der Waals forces. We use numerical calculations to estimate the strength of resonant vibrational dipole-dipole interactions over long distances and compare these estimates to the van der Waals interaction. We find that the resonant vibrational dipole-dipole interactions dominate over the long range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1208
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 8 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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