Structured water in polyelectrolyte dendrimers: Understanding small angle neutron scattering results through atomistic simulation


Based on atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, the small angle neutron scattering (SANS) intensity behavior of a single generation-4 polyelectrolyte polyamidoamine starburst dendrimer is investigated at different levels of molecular protonation. The SANS form factor, P(Q), and Debye autocorrelation function, γ (r), are calculated from the equilibrium MD trajectory based on a mathematical approach proposed in this work. The consistency found in comparison against previously published experimental findings (W.-R. Chen, L. Porcar, Y. Liu, P. D. Butler, and L. J. Magid, Macromolecules 40, 5887 (2007)) leads to a link between the neutron scattering experiment and MD computation, and fresh perspectives. The simulations enable scattering calculations of not only the hydrocarbons but also the contribution from the scattering length density fluctuations caused by structured, confined water within the dendrimer. Based on our computational results, we explore the validity of using radius of gyration RG for microstructure characterization of a polyelectrolyte dendrimer from the scattering perspective. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.

Publication Title

Journal of Chemical Physics