Narges Nikoofard

Biophysics

PhD of Physics
12.59

Publications

  • Narges Nikoofard, Hossein Fazli
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    ABSTRACT: Nano-scale confinement of polymer in cone-shaped geometries occurs in many experimental situations. A flexible polymer confined in a cone-shaped nano-channel is studied theoretically and using molecular dynamics simulations. Distribution of the monomers inside the channel, configuration of the confined polymer, entropic force acting on the polymer, and their dependence on the channel and the polymer parameters are investigated. The theory and the simulation results are in very good agreement. The entropic force on the polymer that results from the asymmetric shape of the channel is measured in the simulations and its magnitude is found to be significant relative to thermal energy. The obtained dependence of the force on the channel parameters may be useful in the design of cone-shaped nano-channels.
    Soft Matter 05/2015; 11(24). DOI:10.1039/C5SM00818B · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The de Gennes' blob model is extensively used in different problems of polymer physics. This model is theoretically applicable when the number of monomers inside each blob is large enough. For confined flexible polymers, this requires the confining geometry to be much larger than the monomer size. In this paper, the opposite limit of polymer in nanoslits with one to several monomers width is studied, using molecular dynamics simulations. Extension of the polymer inside nanoslits, confinement force on the plates, and the effective spring constant of the confined polymer are investigated. Despite the theoretical limitations of the blob model, the simulation results are explained with the blob model very well. The agreement is observed for the static properties and the dynamic spring constant of the polymer. A theoretical description of the conditions under which the dynamic spring constant of the polymer is independent of the small number of monomers inside blobs is given. Our results on the limit of applicability of the blob model can be useful in the design of nanotechnology devices.
    Physical Review E 12/2014; 90(6-1). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevE.90.062603 · 2.33 Impact Factor
  • Narges Nikoofard, Hamidreza Khalilian, Hossein Fazli
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    ABSTRACT: Translocation of a flexible polymer through a cone-shaped channel is studied, theoretically and using computer simulations. Our simulations show that the shape of the channel causes the polymer translocation to be a driven process. The effective driving force of entropic origin acting on the polymer is calculated as a function of the length and the apex-angle of the channel, theoretically. It is found that the translocation time is a non-monotonic function of the apex-angle of the channel. By increasing the apex-angle from zero, the translocation time shows a minimum and then a maximum. Also, it is found that regardless of the value of the apex-angle, the translocation time is a uniformly decreasing function of the channel length. The results of the theory and the simulation are in good qualitative agreement.
    The Journal of Chemical Physics 08/2013; 139(7):074901. DOI:10.1063/1.4818419 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The distribution of counterions and the electrostatic interaction between two similarly charged dielectric slabs is studied in the strong coupling limit. Dielectric inhomogeneities and discreteness of charge on the slabs have been taken into account. It is found that the amount of dielectric constant difference between the slabs and the environment, and the discreteness of charge on the slabs have opposing effects on the equilibrium distribution of the counterions. At small inter-slab separations, increasing the amount of dielectric constant difference increases the tendency of the counterions toward the middle of the intersurface space between the slabs and the discreteness of charge pushes them to the surfaces of the slabs. In the limit of point charges, independent of the strength of dielectric inhomogeneity, counterions distribute near the surfaces of the slabs. The interaction between the slabs is attractive at low temperatures and its strength increases with the dielectric constant difference. At room temperature, the slabs may completely attract each other, reach to an equilibrium separation or have two equilibrium separations with a barrier in between, depending on the system parameters.
    Physical review. E, Statistical physics, plasmas, fluids, and related interdisciplinary topics 11/2012; 85(6). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevE.85.061925 · 2.33 Impact Factor
  • Narges Nikoofard, Hamidreza Khalilian, Hossein Fazli
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    ABSTRACT: Entropy-driven directed translocation of a flexible polymer through a cone-shaped channel is studied theoretically and using computer simulation. For a given length of the channel, the effective force of entropic origin acting on the polymer is calculated as a function of the apex angle of the channel. It is found that the translocation time is a non-monotonic function of the apex angle. By increasing the apex angle from zero, the translocation time shows a minimum and then a maximum. Also, it is found that regardless of the value of the apex angle, the translocation time is a uniformly decreasing function of the channel length. The results of the theory and the simulation are in good qualitative agreement.
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    Narges Nikoofard, Hossein Fazli
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    ABSTRACT: The electric-field-driven entry process of flexible charged polymers such as single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) into asymmetric nanoscale channels such as the α-hemolysin protein channel is studied theoretically and using molecular dynamics simulations. Dependence of the height of the free-energy barrier on the polymer length, the strength of the applied electric field, and the channel entrance geometry is investigated. It is shown that the squeezing effect of the driving field on the polymer and the lateral confinement of the polymer before its entry to the channel crucially affect the barrier height and its dependence on the system parameters. The attempt frequency of the polymer for passing the channel is also discussed. Our theoretical and simulation results support each other and describe related data sets of polymer translocation experiments through the α-hemolysin protein channel reasonably well.
    Physical Review E 02/2012; 85(2 Pt 1):021804. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevE.85.021804 · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    Narges Nikoofard, Hossein Fazli
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    ABSTRACT: Free-energy barrier for entry of a charged polymer into a nanoscale channel by a driving electric field is studied theoretically and using molecular dynamics simulations. Dependence of the barrier height on the polymer length, the driving field strength, and the channel entrance geometry is investigated. Squeezing effect of the electric field on the polymer before its entry to the channel is taken into account. It is shown that lateral confinement of the polymer prior to its entry changes the polymer length dependence of the barrier height noticeably. Our theory and simulation results are in good agreement and reasonably describe related experimental data.
    Physical Review E 05/2011; 83(5 Pt 1):050801. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevE.83.050801 · 2.33 Impact Factor

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