Deformability of poly(amidoamine) dendrimers

A. Mecke, I. Lee, J. R. Baker, M. M.Banaszak Holl, B. G. Orr

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Experimental data indicates that poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers flatten when in contact with a substrate, i.e. they are no longer spherical, but resemble flat disks. In order to better understand the deformation behavior of these branched polymers, a series of atomistic molecular dynamics simulations is performed. The resulting flattened dendrimer conformations are compared to atomic force microscopy (AFM) images of individual dendrimers at air/mica and water/mica interfaces. The ability of the polymers to deform is investigated as a function of dendrimer generation (2-5) and the required energies are calculated. Our modeling results show good agreement with the experimental AFM images, namely that dendrimers are highly flexible and capable of forming multiple interaction sites between most of their branch ends and the substrate. The deformation energy scales with dendrimer generation and does not indicate an increase in stiffness between generations 2 and 5 due to steric effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004
Externally publishedYes

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