This paper focuses on phase and aggregation behavior for linear chains composed of blocks of hydrophilic and hydrophobic segments. Phase and conformational transitions of patterned chains are relevant for understanding liquid-liquid separation of biomolecular condensates, which play a prominent role in cellular biophysics and for surfactant and polymer applications. Previous studies of simple models for multiblock chains have shown that, depending on the sequence pattern and chain length, such systems can fall into one of two categories: displaying either phase separation or aggregation into finite-size clusters. The key new result of this paper is that both formation of finite-size aggregates and phase separation can be observed for certain chain architectures at appropriate conditions of temperature and concentration. For such systems, a bulk dense liquid condenses from a dilute phase that already contains multi-chain finite-size aggregates. The computational approach used in this study involves several distinct steps using histogram-reweighting grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations, which are described in some level of detail.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry