Molecular dynamics simulation of polymer helix formation using rigid-link methods

D. C. Rapaport

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28 Scopus citations


Molecular dynamics simulations are used to study structure formation in simple model polymer chains that are subject to excluded volume and torsional interactions. The changing conformations exhibited by chains of different lengths under gradual cooling are followed until each reaches a state from which no further change is possible. The interactions are chosen so that the true ground state is a helix, and a high proportion of simulation runs succeed in reaching this state; the fraction that manages to form defect-free helices is a function of both chain length and cooling rate. In order to demonstrate behavior analogous to the formation of protein tertiary structure, additional attractive interactions are introduced into the model, leading to the appearance of aligned, antiparallel helix pairs. The simulations employ a computational approach that deals directly with the internal coordinates in a recursive manner; this representation is able to maintain constant bond lengths and angles without the necessity of treating them as an algebraic constraint problem supplementary to the equations of motion.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2002


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