Entropically driven helix formation

  • Snir Y
  • Kamien R
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Abstract

The helix is a ubiquitous motif for biopolymers. We propose a heuristic, entropically based model that predicts helix formation in a system of hard spheres and semiflexible tubes. We find that the entropy of the spheres is maximized when short stretches of the tube form a helix with a geometry close to that found in natural helices. Our model could be directly tested with wormlike micelles as the tubes, and the effect could be used to self-assemble supramolecular helices.

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Authors

  • Yehuda Snir

  • Randall D. Kamien

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