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Self-Organization of n-Alkane Chains in Water: Length Dependent Crossover from Helix and Toroid to Molten Globule

Chakrabarty, Suman and Bagchi, Biman (2009) Self-Organization of n-Alkane Chains in Water: Length Dependent Crossover from Helix and Toroid to Molten Globule. In: Journal Of Physical Chemistry B, 113 (25). pp. 8446-8448.

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Official URL: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp9034387

Abstract

We demonstrate a chain length dependent crossover in the structural properties of linear hydrocarbon (n-alkane) chains using detailed atomistic simulations in explicit water. We identify a number of exotic structures of the polymer chain through energy minimization of representative snapshots collected from molecular dynamics trajectory. While the collapsed state is ring-like (circular) for small chains (CnH2n+2; n <= 20) and spherical for very long ones (n = 100), we find the emergence of ordered helical structures at intermediate lengths (n similar to 40). We find different types of disordered helices and toroid-like structures at n = 60. We also report a sharp transition in the stability of the collapsed state as a function of the chain length through relevant free energy calculations. While the collapsed state is only marginally metastable for C20H42, a clear bistable free energy surface emerges only when the chain is about 30 monomers long. For n = 30, the polymer exhibits an intermittent oscillation between the collapsed and the coil structures, characteristic of two stable states separated by a small barrier.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to American Chemical Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2010 05:24
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:37
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/21465

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