Unfolding of a comb-like polymer in a poor solvent: Translation of macromolecular architecture in the force-deformation spectra

Alexey A. Polotsky*, Tatiana M. Birshtein, Anna A. Mercurieva, Frans A.M. Leermakers, Oleg V. Borisov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A numerical self-consistent field modeling approach was employed to study the mechanical unfolding of a globule made by comb-like polymers in a poor solvent with the aim of unraveling how the macromolecular architecture affects the shape of the single-molecule force-deformation curves. We demonstrate that the dependence of the restoring force on the imposed extension of the main chain of the comb-like polymer exhibits a characteristic oscillatory shape in the intermediate deformation range. Theoretical arguments are developed that enable us to relate the shape of the patterns on the force-deformation curves to the molecular architecture (grafting density and length of the side chains) and interaction parameters. Thus, the results of our study suggest a new approach for the determination of macromolecular topology from single-molecule mechanical unfolding experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9147-9161
JournalSoft Matter
Volume13
Issue number48
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017

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