Evaporation rate of water in hydrophobic confinement.
ABSTRACT: The drying of hydrophobic cavities is believed to play an important role in biophysical phenomena such as the folding of globular proteins, the opening and closing of ligand-gated ion channels, and ligand binding to hydrophobic pockets. We use forward flux sampling, a molecular simulation technique, to compute the rate of capillary evaporation of water confined between two hydrophobic surfaces separated by nanoscopic gaps, as a function of gap, surface size, and temperature. Over the range of conditions investigated (gaps between 9 and 14 ? and surface areas between 1 and 9 nm(2)), the free energy barrier to evaporation scales linearly with the gap between hydrophobic surfaces, suggesting that line tension makes the predominant contribution to the free energy barrier. The exponential dependence of the evaporation rate on the gap between confining surfaces causes a 10 order-of-magnitude decrease in the rate when the gap increases from 9 to 14 ?. The computed free energy barriers are of the order of 50 kT and are predominantly enthalpic. Evaporation rates per unit area are found to be two orders of magnitude faster in confinement by the larger (9 nm(2)) than by the smaller (1 nm(2)) surfaces considered here, at otherwise identical conditions. We show that this rate enhancement is a consequence of the dependence of hydrophobic hydration on the size of solvated objects. For sufficiently large surfaces, the critical nucleus for the evaporation process is a gap-spanning vapor tube.
Project description:The ring stain phenomenon is a critical hindrance to the distribution of the solute during drying for biochemical assays and materials deposition. Herein, we developed a substrate, characterized with hydrophilic spots surrounded by hydrophobic areas, to suppress the ring stain effect, and fabricated four kinds of patterned surfaces to investigate the relationship between the surface free energy and ring-suppressing performance. We found that during the evaporation process, a drop was constrained on the hydrophilic spot with a pinned contact line, and the ring stain effect was suppressed significantly. The suppressing performance of the ring stain effect increases with surface free energy differences between the hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions.
Project description:Biomolecular surfaces and interfaces are commonly found with apolar character. The hydrophobic effect thus plays a crucial role in processes involving association with biomolecular surfaces in the cellular environment. By computer simulation, we compared the hydrogen bonding structures and energetics of the proximal hydration shells of the monomer and dimer from a recent study of an extrinsic membrane peptide, melittin. The two peptides were studied in their amphipathic alpha-helical forms, which possess extended hydrophobic surfaces characterized by different topography. The topography of the peptide-water interface was found to be critical in determining the enthalpic nature of hydrophobic hydration. This topographical dependence has far-reaching implications in the regulation of bioactivities in the presence of amphipathicity. This result also engenders reconsideration of the validity of using free energy parameters that depend solely on the chemical nature of constituent moieties in characterizing hydrophobic hydration of proteins and biomolecules in general.
Project description:In contrast with findings on the wild-type Rhodobacter sphaeroides reaction center, biexponential P (+) H A (-) ? PH A charge recombination is shown to be weakly dependent on temperature between 78 and 298 K in three variants with single amino acids exchanged in the vicinity of primary electron acceptors. These mutated reaction centers have diverse overall kinetics of charge recombination, spanning an average lifetime from ~2 to ~20 ns. Despite these differences a protein relaxation model applied previously to wild-type reaction centers was successfully used to relate the observed kinetics to the temporal evolution of the free energy level of the state P (+) H A (-) relative to P (+) B A (-) . We conclude that the observed variety in the kinetics of charge recombination, together with their weak temperature dependence, is caused by a combination of factors that are each affected to a different extent by the point mutations in a particular mutant complex. These are as follows: (1) the initial free energy gap between the states P (+) B A (-) and P (+) H A (-) , (2) the intrinsic rate of P (+) B A (-) ? PB A charge recombination, and (3) the rate of protein relaxation in response to the appearance of the charge separated states. In the case of a mutant which displays rapid P (+) H A (-) recombination (ELL), most of this recombination occurs in an unrelaxed protein in which P (+) B A (-) and P (+) H A (-) are almost isoenergetic. In contrast, in a mutant in which P (+) H A (-) recombination is relatively slow (GML), most of the recombination occurs in a relaxed protein in which P (+) H A (-) is much lower in energy than P (+) H A (-) . The weak temperature dependence in the ELL reaction center and a YLH mutant was modeled in two ways: (1) by assuming that the initial P (+) B A (-) and P (+) H A (-) states in an unrelaxed protein are isoenergetic, whereas the final free energy gap between these states following the protein relaxation is large (~250 meV or more), independent of temperature and (2) by assuming that the initial and final free energy gaps between P (+) B A (-) and P (+) H A (-) are moderate and temperature dependent. In the case of the GML mutant, it was concluded that the free energy gap between P (+) B A (-) and P (+) H A (-) is large at all times.
Project description:It is well known that the close-packed CF3-terminated solid surface is among the most hydrophobic surfaces in nature. Molecular dynamic simulations show that this hydrophobicity can be further enhanced by the atomic-scale roughness. Consequently, the hydrophobic gap width is enlarged to about 0.6 nm for roughened CF3-terminated solid surfaces. In contrast, the hydrophobic gap width does not increase too much for a rough CH3-terminated solid surface. We show that the CF3-terminated surface exists in a microscopic Cassie-Baxter state, whereas the CH3-terminated surface exists as a microscopic Wenzel state. This finding elucidates the underlying mechanism for the different widths of the observed hydrophobic gap. The cage structure of the water molecules (with integrated hydrogen bonds) around CH3 terminal assemblies on the solid surface provides an explanation for the mechanism by which the CH3-terminated surface is less hydrophobic than the CF3-terminated surface.
Project description:Hydrophobicity underpins self-assembly in many natural and synthetic molecular and nanoscale systems. A signature of hydrophobicity is its temperature dependence. The first experimental evaluation of the temperature and size dependence of hydration free energy in a single hydrophobic polymer is reported, which tests key assumptions in models of hydrophobic interactions in protein folding. Herein, the hydration free energy required to extend three hydrophobic polymers with differently sized aromatic side chains was directly measured by single molecule force spectroscopy. The results are threefold. First, the hydration free energy per monomer is found to be strongly dependent on temperature and does not follow interfacial thermodynamics. Second, the temperature dependence profiles are distinct among the three hydrophobic polymers as a result of a hydrophobic size effect at the subnanometer scale. Third, the hydration free energy of a monomer on a macromolecule is different from a free monomer; corrections for the reduced hydration free energy due to hydrophobic interaction from neighboring units are required.
Project description:For atmospheric sulfuric acid (SA) concentrations the presence of dimethylamine (DMA) at mixing ratios of several parts per trillion by volume can explain observed boundary layer new particle formation rates. However, the concentration and molecular composition of the neutral (uncharged) clusters have not been reported so far due to the lack of suitable instrumentation. Here we report on experiments from the Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets chamber at the European Organization for Nuclear Research revealing the formation of neutral particles containing up to 14 SA and 16 DMA molecules, corresponding to a mobility diameter of about 2 nm, under atmospherically relevant conditions. These measurements bridge the gap between the molecular and particle perspectives of nucleation, revealing the fundamental processes involved in particle formation and growth. The neutral clusters are found to form at or close to the kinetic limit where particle formation is limited only by the collision rate of SA molecules. Even though the neutral particles are stable against evaporation from the SA dimer onward, the formation rates of particles at 1.7-nm size, which contain about 10 SA molecules, are up to 4 orders of magnitude smaller compared with those of the dimer due to coagulation and wall loss of particles before they reach 1.7 nm in diameter. This demonstrates that neither the atmospheric particle formation rate nor its dependence on SA can simply be interpreted in terms of cluster evaporation or the molecular composition of a critical nucleus.
Project description:Water plays a key role in biological membrane transport. In ion channels and water-conducting pores (aquaporins), one-dimensional confinement in conjunction with strong surface effects changes the physical behavior of water. In molecular dynamics simulations of water in short (0.8 nm) hydrophobic pores the water density in the pore fluctuates on a nanosecond time scale. In long simulations (460 ns in total) at pore radii ranging from 0.35 to 1.0 nm we quantify the kinetics of oscillations between a liquid-filled and a vapor-filled pore. This behavior can be explained as capillary evaporation alternating with capillary condensation, driven by pressure fluctuations in the water outside the pore. The free-energy difference between the two states depends linearly on the radius. The free-energy landscape shows how a metastable liquid state gradually develops with increasing radius. For radii > approximately 0.55 nm it becomes the globally stable state and the vapor state vanishes. One-dimensional confinement affects the dynamic behavior of the water molecules and increases the self diffusion by a factor of 2-3 compared with bulk water. Permeabilities for the narrow pores are of the same order of magnitude as for biological water pores. Water flow is not continuous but occurs in bursts. Our results suggest that simulations aimed at collective phenomena such as hydrophobic effects may require simulation times >50 ns. For water in confined geometries, it is not possible to extrapolate from bulk or short time behavior to longer time scales.
Project description:We present our observation of meta-hydrophobicity, where geometrically patterned surfaces make hydrophilic microchannels exhibit hydrophobic-like behaviors. We analyze the wetting-induced energy decrease that results from the surface geometries and experimentally demonstrate how those geometries can modulate the dynamics of capillary-driven wetting and evaporation-driven drying of microfluidic systems. Our results also show that the modulated wetting dynamics can be employed to generate regulated patterns of microbubbles.
Project description:Several experiments have shown a huge enhancement in thermal radiation over the blackbody limit when two objects are separated by nanoscale gaps. Although those measurements only demonstrated enhanced radiation between homogeneous materials, theoretical studies now focus on controlling the near-field radiation by tuning surface polaritons supported in nanomaterials. Here, we experimentally demonstrate near-field thermal radiation between metallo-dielectric multilayers at nanoscale gaps. Significant enhancement in heat transfer is achieved due to the coupling of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) supported at multiple metal-dielectric interfaces. This enables the metallo-dielectric multilayers at a 160-nm vacuum gap to have the same heat transfer rate as that between semi-infinite metal surfaces separated by only 75?nm. We also demonstrate that near-field thermal radiation can be readily tuned by modifying the resonance condition of coupled SPPs. This study will provide a new direction for exploiting surface-polariton-mediated near-field thermal radiation between planar structures.
Project description:Reduction of surface plasmon-polariton losses due to their scattering on metal surface roughness still remains a challenge in the fabrication of plasmonic devices for nanooptics. To achieve smooth silver films, we study the dependence of surface roughness on the evaporation temperature in a physical vapor deposition process. At the deposition temperature range 90 to 500 K, the mismatch of thermal expansion coefficients of Ag, Ge wetting layer, and sapphire substrate does not deteriorate the metal surface. To avoid ice crystal formation on substrates, the working temperature of the whole physical vapor deposition process should exceed that of the sublimation at the evaporation pressure range. At optimum room temperature, the root-mean-square (RMS) surface roughness was successfully reduced to 0.2 nm for a 10-nm Ag layer on sapphire substrate with a 1-nm germanium wetting interlayer. Silver layers of 10- and 30-nm thickness were examined using an atomic force microscope (AFM), X-ray reflectometry (XRR), and two-dimensional X-ray diffraction (XRD2).63.22.Np Layered systems; 68. Surfaces and interfaces; thin films and nanosystems (structure and nonelectronic properties); 81.07.-b Nanoscale materials and structures: fabrication and characterization.