Theoretical study of solvent effects on the ...

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Title Theoretical study of solvent effects on the coil-globule transition
Author(s) J. M. Polson, S. B. Opps, N. Abou Risk
Journal The Journal of Chemical Physics
Date 2009
Volume 130
Issue 24
Start page 244902
Abstract The coil-globule transition of a polymer in a solvent has been studied using Monte Carlo simulations of a single chain subject to intramolecular interactions as well as a solvent-mediated effective potential. This solvation potential was calculated using several different theoretical approaches for two simple polymer/solvent models, each employing hard-sphere chains and hard-sphere solvent particles as well as attractive square-well potentials between some interaction sites. For each model, collapse is driven by variation in a parameter which changes the energy mismatch between monomers and solvent particles. The solvation potentials were calculated using two fundamentally different methodologies, each designed to predict the conformational behavior of polymers in solution: (1) the polymer reference interaction site model (PRISM) theory and (2) a many-body solvation potential (MBSP) based on scaled particle theory introduced by Grayce [J. Chem. Phys. 106, 5171 (1997)]. For the PRISM calculations, two well-studied solvation monomer-monomer pair potentials were employed, each distinguished by the closure relation used in its derivation: (i) a hypernetted-chain (HNC)-type potential and (ii) a Percus-Yevick (PY)-type potential. The theoretical predictions were each compared to results obtained from explicit-solvent discontinuous molecular dynamics simulations on the same polymer/solvent model systems [J. Chem. Phys. 125, 194904 (2006)]. In each case, the variation in the coil-globule transition properties with solvent density is mostly qualitatively correct, though the quantitative agreement between the theory and prediction is typically poor. The HNC-type potential yields results that are more qualitatively consistent with simulation. The conformational behavior of the polymer upon collapse predicted by the MBSP approach is quantitatively correct for low and moderate solvent densities but is increasingly less accurate for higher densities. At high solvent densities, the PRISM-HNC and MBSP approaches tend to overestimate, while the PRISM-PY approach underestimates the tendency of the solvent to drive polymer collapse.
DOI 10.1063/1.3153350
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