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Experimental and Theoretical Study of the Vibrational Spectra of Oligoureas: Helical versus β-Sheet-Type Secondary Structures

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posted on 21.04.2011, 00:00 authored by Dominique Cavagnat, Paul Claudon, Lucile Fischer, Gilles Guichard, Bernard Desbat
Ab initio calculations of two oligoureas stabilized in helix and sheet organization have been performed. The hydrogen bond distances were found to be almost the same for both structures. The vibrational assignment of the two oligourea structures and the direction of the transition moment of each vibration have been determined. From these results, and using the experimental isotropic optical index determined for one oligourea, we have established the anisotropic infrared optical files for the two structures. Interestingly, most urea absorptions vibrate in only one principal direction. Also, the shift of the carbonyl band is weaker and inverse to what was reported for corresponding protein secondary structures. Finally, simulations of the Polarization Modulation Infrared Reflection Absorption Spectroscopy (PMIRRAS) and Attenuated Reflection Spectroscopy (ATR) infrared spectra demonstrate the possibility to determine the orientation of the oligoureas in thin or ultrathin films, even if in some cases it may be difficult to unambiguously assign their secondary structure.