Influence of polymer shape on depletion potentials and crowding in colloid–polymer mixtures
Depletion-induced interactions between colloids in colloid–polymer mixtures depend in range and strength on size, shape, and concentration of depletants. Crowding by colloids in turn affects shapes of polymer coils, such as biopolymers in biological cells. By simulating hard-sphere colloids and random-walk polymers, modeled as fluctuating ellipsoids, we compute depletion-induced potentials and polymer shape distributions. Comparing results with exact density-functional theory calculations, molecular simulations, and experiments, we show that polymer shape fluctuations play an important role in depletion and crowding phenomena.
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