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ReaxFF MD Simulations of Peptide-Grafted Gold Nanoparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 14.03.2019, 00:00 by Mohammadreza Samieegohar, Feng Sha, Andre Z. Clayborne, Tao Wei
Functionalized gold nanoparticles have critical applications in biodetection with surface-enhanced Raman spectrum and drug delivery. In this study, reactive force field molecular dynamics simulations were performed to study gold nanoparticles, which are modified with different short-chain peptides consisting of amino acid residues of cysteine and glycine in different grafting densities in the aqueous environment. Our study showed slight facet-dependent peptide adsorption on a gold nanoparticle with the 3 nm core diameter. Peptide chains prefer to adsorb on the Au(111) facet compared to those on other facets of Au(100) and Au(110). In addition to the stable thiol interaction with gold nanoparticle surfaces, polarizable oxygen and nitrogen atoms show strong interactions with the gold surface and polarize the gold nanoparticle surfaces with an overall positive charge. Charges of gold atoms vary according to their contacts with peptide atoms and lattice positions. However, at the outmost peptide layer, the whole functionalized Au nanoparticles exhibit overall negative electrostatic potential due to the grafted peptides. Moreover, simulations show that thiol groups can be deprotonated and subsequently protons can be transferred to water molecules and carboxyl groups.