How strong is a covalent bond

Michel Grandbois, Martin Beyer, Matthias Rief, Hauke Clausen-Schaumann, Hermann E. Gaub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

910 Scopus citations


The rupture force of single covalent bonds under an external load was measured with an atomic force microscope (AFM). Single polysaccharide molecules were covalently anchored between a surface and an AFM tip and then stretched until they became detached. By using different surface chemistries for the attachment, it was found that the silicon-carbon bond ruptured at 2.0 ± 0.3 nanonewtons, whereas the sulfur-gold anchor ruptured at 1.4 ± 0.3 nanonewtons at force-loading rates of 10 nanonewtons per second. Bond rupture probability caLcuLations that were based on density functional theory corroborate the measured values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1727-1730
Number of pages4
Issue number5408
StatePublished - 12 Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


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