Self-Assembling Nanofibers from Thiophene - Peptide Diblock Oligomers: A Combined Experimental and Computer Simulations Study

AK Shaytan and EK Schillinger and PG Khalatur and E Mena-Osteritz and J Hentschel and HG Borner and P Bauerle and AR Khokhlov, ACS NANO, 5, 6894-6909 (2011).

DOI: 10.1021/nn2011943

We report herein-the synthesis oft novel type of hybrid compound that consists of a poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) functionalized beta-sheet peptide sequence covalently linked to an alkylated quaterthiophene moiety. Compounds of this class are highly promising for technological applications-because their self-assembly and stimuli-responsive behavior, which is mainly caused by the peptide moieties, combined with the potential semiconducting properties of oligothiophenes provides unprecedented opportunities for the design of advanced materials at the nanoscale in such areas as, for example, organic electronics and sensor design for chemical and biomedical applications. The compound presented herein is experimentally shown to form stable fibrillar aggregates that are visualized by both transmission electron and atomic force microscopy. We. developed a theoretical methodology to study the possible intermolecular arrangements and their. characteristic features with the help of all-atom MD simulations, while simultaneously incorporating available experimental data into the model. Large-scale atomistic simulations of several fibrillar aggregates with different molecular arrangements were performed. The results of the simulations are compared with experimental data, which leads to the proposition of a likely model for the arrangement of the individual molecules within observed aggregates.

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