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Atomistic Perspective on Biomolecular Adsorption on Functionalized Carbon Nanomaterials under Ambient Conditions

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posted on 29.12.2020, 17:10 by Marzieh Saeedimasine, Erik G. Brandt, Alexander P. Lyubartsev
The use of carbon-based nanomaterials is tremendously increasing in various areas of technological, bioengineering, and biomedical applications. The functionality of carbon-based nanomaterials can be further broadened via chemical functionalization of carbon nanomaterial surfaces. On the other hand, concern is rising on possible adverse effects when nanomaterials are taken up by biological organisms. In order to contribute into understanding of interactions of carbon-based nanomaterials with biological matter, we have investigated adsorption of small biomolecules on nanomaterials using enhanced sampling molecular dynamics. The biomolecules included amino acid side chain analogues, fragments of lipids, and sugar monomers. The adsorption behavior on unstructured amorphous carbon, pristine graphene and its derivatives (such as few-layer graphene, graphene oxide, and reduced graphene oxide) as well as pristine carbon nanotubes, and those functionalized with OH, COOH, COO, NH2, and NH3+ groups was investigated with respect to surface concentration. An adsorption profile, that is, the free energy as a function of distance from the nanomaterial surfaces, was determined for each molecule and surface using the Metadynamics approach. The results were analyzed in terms of chemical specificity, surface charge, and surface concentration. It was shown that although morphology of the nanomaterial has a limited effect on the adsorption properties, functionalization of the surface by various molecular groups can drastically change the adsorption behavior that can be used in the design of nanosurfaces with highly selective adsorption properties and safe for human health and environment.

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