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Surface Patterning of Carbon Nanotubes Can Enhance Their Penetration through a Phospholipid Bilayer

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Departament d’Enginyeria Quimica, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, 26 Av. dels Paisos Catalans, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3RA, United Kingdom
§ ICREA, 23 Passeig Lluis Companys, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
*Address correspondence to [email protected]
Cite this: ACS Nano 2011, 5, 2, 1141–1146
Publication Date (Web):January 5, 2011
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    Nanotube patterning may occur naturally upon the spontaneous self-assembly of biomolecules onto the surface of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). It results in periodically alternating bands of surface properties, ranging from relatively hydrophilic to hydrophobic, along the axis of the nanotube. Single-chain mean field (SCMF) theory has been used to estimate the free energy of systems in which a surface patterned nanotube penetrates a phospholipid bilayer. In contrast to unpatterned nanotubes with uniform surface properties, certain patterned nanotubes have been identified that display a relatively low and approximately constant system free energy (<±10 kT) as the nanotube traverses through the bilayer. These observations support the hypothesis that the spontaneous self-assembly of biomolecules on the surface of SWNTs may facilitate nanotube transduction through cell membranes.

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    Concentration profiles of the equilibrium insertion of the patterned carbon nanotubes into phospholipid bilayer are shown for different distances of a nanotube from the bilayer midplane.

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