Chirality inversions in self-assembly of fibrillar superstructures: a computational study

M Gruziel and W Dzwolak and P Szymczak, SOFT MATTER, 9, 8005-8013 (2013).

DOI: 10.1039/c3sm27961h

The formation of aggregates of helical fibrils is analyzed numerically. The aggregate morphology, chirality and stability are studied as a function of temperature and helical pitch of individual fibrils. The simulations show the existence of a critical pitch above which the handedness of the aggregates is opposite to that of the constituting fibrils. We also observe and analyze the process of spontaneous chirality inversion of individual fibrils within the aggregates. This inversion is accompanied by a helical wave propagating along the fibril axis, with a kink separating left-handed and right-handed regions moving along the fibril. The frequency of this process is strongly dependent on the initial pitch of the fibrils with a local maximum near the critical pitch.

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