Size and Shape in Solution: it is an effective measure of the molecule's size. It is particularly useful for non-spherical or complex-shaped molecules that might not be well described by simple geometric dimensions.
Conformational Changes: Changes in the Rh can indicate alterations in the molecule's conformation. To exemplify, when a protein undergoes structural change due to denaturation, ligand binding, or similar, its hydrodynamic radius can change accordingly.
Aggregation: Changes in hydrodynamic radius can serve as a signal of the aggregation state of molecules. Aggregates tend to have larger hydrodynamic radii than individual molecules due to increased effective volume.
Solution Conditions: Conditions such as temperature, pH, ionic strength, and viscosity can influence the Rh.
Comparative Studies: Hydrodynamic radius is used for comparing the sizes of different molecules, such as proteins, polymers, or nanoparticles, under similar conditions.
Dynamics and Transport: Knowing the hydrodynamic radius is necessary to predicting how a molecule will diffuse through a solution, which has implications for transport within biological systems and industrial processes.
Biophysical Characterization: hydrodynamic radius is a critical parameter for biophysical characterization of proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules. It complements other measurements like structural techniques, providing information about a molecule's overall behavior. It is often used as a quality control parameter before structural assays.