Cascade of coil-globule conformational transitions of single flexible polyelectrolyte molecules in poor solvent.
ABSTRACT We show that hydrophobic flexible polyelectrolyte molecules of poly(2-vinylpyridine) and poly(methacryloyloxyethyl dimethylbenzylammonium chloride) are trapped and frozen due to adsorption on the mica surface, and the observed AFM single molecule structures reflect the molecular conformation in solution. An increase of the ionic strength of the solution induces the cascade of abrupt conformational transitions due to the intrachain segregation from elongated coil to compact globule conformations through intermediate pearl necklace-globule conformations with different amounts of beads per chain. The length of the necklaces and the number of beads decrease, while the diameter of beads increases with the increase of ionic strength. Coexistence at the same time of extended coils, necklaces with different amounts of beads, and compact globules indicates the cascade of the first-order-type phase transitions.
- Acta Polymerica Sinica 04/2010; 010(4):435-441. · 0.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Polymers exhibit extended structures at high temperatures or in good solvents and collapsed configurations at low temperatures or in poor solvents. This fundamental property is crucial to the design of materials, and indeed has been extensively studied in recent years. In this paper, the collapse of polyethylene rings on an attractive surface was investigated by using molecular dynamics simulations. It is found that the collapse of ring chains on the attractive surface is of distinct difference from their free counterparts, where the collapse becomes more continuous and a one-stage instead of two-stage collapse can be identified by the specific heat. Some hairpin-like crystal structures are found at low temperatures, which are induced by the adsorption interaction of polymer-surface. For a given chain length, the results were further compared with those of the adsorbed linear chains. Due to the topological constraint of ring chains, the number of hairpin structures is clearly less than that of the linear chains. These numerical simulations may provide some new insights into the folding of ring polymers under adsorption interactions.Chinese Journal of Polymer Science 08/2013; 31(8). · 1.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We present the results of variational calculations of a polyelectrolyte solution with low salt in poor solvent conditions for a polymer backbone. By employing the variation method, we quantitatively determined the diagram of the state of the polyelectrolyte in poor solvents as a function of the charge density and the molecular weight. The exact structure and diagram of the polyelectrolyte were compared to the scaling predictions of the necklace model developed by Dobrynin and Rubinstein [Prog. Polym. Sci. 30, 1049-1118 (2005); Dobrynin and Rubinstein, Macromolecules 32, 915-922 (1999); Dobrynin and Rubinstein, Macromolecules 34, 1964-1972 (2001)]. We find that the scaling necklace model may be used as a rather good estimation and analytical approximation of the exact variational model. It is also pointed out that the molecular connection of polymer is crucial for ellipsoid and necklace conformation.The Journal of Chemical Physics 05/2014; 140(19):194905. · 3.12 Impact Factor