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Globule–stretch transition of a self-attracting chain in the repulsive active particle bath

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Abstract

Folding and unfolding of a chain structure are often manipulated in experiments by tuning the pH, temperature, single-molecule forces or shear fields. Here, we carry out Brownian dynamics simulations to explore the behavior of a single self-attracting chain in a suspension of self-propelling particles (SPPs). As the propelling force increases, the globule–stretch (G–S) transition of the chain occurs due to the enhanced disturbance from the SPPs. Two distinct mechanisms of the transition in the limits of low and high rotational diffusion rates of SPPs have been observed: shear-induced stretching at a low rate and collision-induced melting at a high rate. The G–S and S–G (stretch–globule) curves form a hysteresis loop at the low rate, while they merge at the high rate. Besides, we find that two competing effects result in a non-monotonic dependence of the G–S transition on SPP density at the low rate. Our results suggest an alternative approach to manipulating the folding and unfolding of (bio)polymers by utilizing active agents.

Graphical abstract: Globule–stretch transition of a self-attracting chain in the repulsive active particle bath

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Sep 2018, accepted on 21 Dec 2018 and first published on 24 Jan 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP05976D
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2019, Advance Article

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    Globule–stretch transition of a self-attracting chain in the repulsive active particle bath

    Y. Xia, W. Tian, K. Chen and Y. Ma, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8CP05976D

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