Binding to semiflexible polymers: a novel method to control the structures of small numbers of building blocks
D Zhang and LX Zhang, SOFT MATTER, 10, 7661-7668 (2014).
Through the molecular dynamics simulation method, we demonstrate that long semi-flexible polymer chains can serve as an effective soft elastic medium for manipulating the ordered structures of small numbers of building blocks, which can be easily controlled by the chain bending stiffness. For two spherical particles in a polymer-particle mixture, three types of local organization are identified: monomer level tight particle bridging, direct contact aggregation, and dispersion. For small numbers of spherical particles in a polymer-particle mixture, the ordered structures of particles, such as spherical and linear particle aggregations, depend mainly on chain bending stiffness. For non- spherical building blocks, the relative orientations of neighboring building blocks are also strongly affected by chain bending stiffness. These results can help us to understand the complexity of the self- assembly of small numbers of building blocks in polymer-particle mixtures and the gene activity in living cells, as well as to construct novel materials in the nanotechnology field.
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