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Elastic Properties of Photoswitchable Azobenzene Polymers from Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Authors

  • Lars V. Schäfer,

    1. Abteilung für theoretische und computergestützte Biophysik, Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Am Fassberg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany, Fax: (+49) 551-201-2302
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  • E. Matthias Müller,

    1. Abteilung für theoretische und computergestützte Biophysik, Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Am Fassberg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany, Fax: (+49) 551-201-2302
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  • Hermann E. Gaub,

    1. Lehrstuhl für Angewandte Physik und Center of Nanoscience, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Amalienstrasse 54, 80799 München, Germany
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  • Helmut Grubmüller

    1. Abteilung für theoretische und computergestützte Biophysik, Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Am Fassberg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany, Fax: (+49) 551-201-2302
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  • We thank I. Tremmel for carefully reading the manuscript and for valuable comments, and F. Gräter, O. Lange, R. Netz, D. Oesterhelt, and C. Renner for helpful discussions. L.V.S. thanks the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds for a PhD fellowship. Support from the EU Nanomot project (grant 29084) is gratefully acknowledged. H.E.G. was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie.

Abstract

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Promising future nanoscopic devices: Azobenzene polypeptides can be switched between an elongated trans and a compact cis conformation. Molecular dynamics simulations have been carried out to probe their elastic properties and to explain recent scanning probe microscopy experiments at the atomic level. The results should enable the rational design of photoswitchable polymers, as demonstrated by a first example.

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