Modeling and simulations of some anisotropic soft-matter systems: from biaxial to chiral materials

Querciagrossa, Lara (2013) Modeling and simulations of some anisotropic soft-matter systems: from biaxial to chiral materials, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze chimiche, 25 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/5371.
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We have modeled various soft-matter systems with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The first topic concerns liquid crystal (LC) biaxial nematic (Nb) phases, that can be possibly used in fast displays. We have investigated the phase organization of biaxial Gay-Berne (GB) mesogens, considering the effects of the orientation, strength and position of a molecular dipole. We have observed that for systems with a central dipole, nematic biaxial phases disappear when increasing dipole strength, while for systems characterized by an offset dipole, the Nb phase is stabilized at very low temperatures. In a second project, in view of their increasing importance as nanomaterials in LC phases, we are developing a DNA coarse-grained (CG) model, in which sugar and phosphate groups are represented with Lennard-Jones spheres, while bases with GB ellipsoids. We have obtained shape, position and orientation parameters for each bead, to best reproduce the atomistic structure of a B-DNA helix. Starting from atomistic simulations results, we have completed a first parametrization of the force field terms, accounting for bonded (bonds, angles and dihedrals) and non-bonded interactions (H-bond and stacking). We are currently validating the model, by investigating stability and melting temperature of various sequences. Finally, in a third project, we aim to explain the mechanism of enantiomeric discrimination due to the presence of a chiral helix of poly(gamma-benzyl L-glutamate) (PBLG), in solution of dimethylformamide (DMF), interacting with chiral or pro-chiral molecules (in our case heptyl butyrate, HEP), after tuning properly an atomistic force field (AMBER). We have observed that DMF and HEP molecules solvate uniformly the PBLG helix, but the pro-chiral solute is on average found closer to the helix with respect to the DMF. The solvent presents a faster isotropic diffusion, twice as HEP, also indicating a stronger interaction of the solute with the helix.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Querciagrossa, Lara
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze chimiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
17 Aprile 2013

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