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Translocation of Star Polyelectrolytes through a Nanopore

Nagarajan, Karthik, Chen, Shing Bor
TheJournal of physical chemistry 2019 v.123 no.14 pp. 3124-3134
electric field, electrolytes, molecular dynamics, nanopores, polymers, solvents
The electric field driven translocation of charged star polymers through a cylindrical nanopore has been studied using dissipative particle dynamics simulations. The critical field strength required to induce translocation depends on both the number of arms and the number of beads per arm. It may therefore be possible to separate star polyelectrolytes of different arm lengths using electric field driven translocation through a nanopore. The average translocation time exhibits nonmonotonic variation with the number of arms for good solvent conditions. During translocation, a star polymer with many arms is stretched along the pore axis to a lesser extent as compared to its linear counterpart. Unlike a linear chain that shows tension propagation with large tensions for bonds about to enter the pore, a star has the tensest bonds closest to the branch point whose connectivity to multiple arms raises difficulty for its entry and passage.