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Temperature dependent free energy surface of polymer folding from equilibrium and quench studies

Chakrabarty, Suman and Bagchi, Biman (2010) Temperature dependent free energy surface of polymer folding from equilibrium and quench studies. In: Journal of Chemical Physics, 133 (21).

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Langevin dynamics simulation studies have been employed to calculate the temperature dependent free energy surface and folding characteristics of a 500 monomer long linear alkane (polyethylene) chain with a realistic interaction potential. Both equilibrium and temperature quench simulation studies have been carried out. Using the shape anisotropy parameter (S) of the folded molecule as the order parameter, we find a weakly first order phase transition between the high-temperature molten globule and low-temperature rodlike crystalline states separated by a small barrier of the order of k(B)T. Near the melting temperature (580 K), we observe an intriguing intermittent fluctuation with pronounced ``1/f noise characteristics'' between these two states with large difference in shape and structure. We have also studied the possibilities of different pathways of folding to states much below the melting point. At 300 K starting from the all-trans linear configuration, the chain folds stepwise into a very regular fourfold crystallite with very high shape anisotropy. Whereas, when quenched from a high temperature (900 K) random coil regime, we identify a two step transition from the random coiled state to a molten globulelike state and, further, to a anisotropic rodlike state. The trajectory reveals an interesting coupling between the two order parameters, namely, radius of gyration (R-g) and the shape anisotropy parameter (S). The rodlike final state of the quench trajectory is characterized by lower shape anisotropy parameter and significantly larger number of gauche defects as compared to the final state obtained through equilibrium simulation starting from all-trans linear chain. The quench study shows indication of a nucleationlike pathway from the molten globule to the rodlike state involving an underlying rugged energy landscape. (C) 2010 American Institute of Physics. doi:10.1063/1.3509398]

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Chemical Physics
Publisher: American Institute of Physics
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Institute of Physics.
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2011 10:44
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2011 10:44
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/35013

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