Domain Formation and Conformational Changes in Gold Nanoparticle Conjugates Studied Using DPD Simulations

Asli Raman, Carlos Jaime, Victor F. Puntes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 American Chemical Society. A gold nanoparticle (AuNP) conjugate formed with 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid (MUA) and thiolated polyethylene glycol (SH-PEG) is simulated using dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) methods, obtaining an excellent agreement with previous experimental observations. The simulations cover the isolated components (AuNP, MUA, and SH-PEG), as well as pairs of components, and finally the all three components at the same time. In this latter case, changes in the order of addition of MUA and SH-PEG over the AuNP are also considered. The AuNP is formed by independent gold beads and keeps an almost spherical shape throughout the simulation. MUA forms micelles of four to six MUA units when dispersed in water, while SH-PEG stays individually and well solvated. When exposed to AuNP, both molecules show a tendency to form patches on the surface. SH-PEG displays two different conformations (radial and tangential) depending on its relative concentration and the presence of other molecules at the NP surface. When combined at subsaturation concentrations, MUA arrives faster to the AuNP surface than SH-PEG and forms patches while SH-PEG occupies the remaining free surface. In these conditions, the order of addition of the different components partially alters these results. When SH-PEG is added over an already formed MUA/AuNP partial layer, it adopts a radial conformation over the MUA formed patches; on the contrary, if MUA is added over an already formed SH-PEG/AuNP partial layer, much less SH-PEGs adopt a radial conformation and MUA patches are significantly smaller.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14502-14512
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017


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