Du, Hongbo; Qian, Xianghong
The Hydration Properties of Carboxybetaine Zwitterion Brushes

Combined quantum mechanical calculations and classical molecular dynamics simulations were conducted to investigate the hydration properties of carboxybetaine zwitterion brushes with varying separation distances between the quaternary ammonium cation and carboxylic anion. The brushes consist of zwitterion trimers and are investigated to mimic interacting zwitterion chains grafted on a substrate as well as polymers with interacting zwitterion side chains. Our results show that the values of both positive and negative charges, their separation distances as well as chain interactions appear to play a critical role in the hydration properties of the zwitterions. The overall hydration property of these zwitterions is dictated by the competition between the strong hydration of the charged groups and the dehydration of the hydrocarbon chains. The strongest hydration occurs when the -CH2- unit in the hydrocarbon chain reaches 6-8 for these trimers. Further increase in the hydrocarbon chain length to 10-14 leads to significant and sudden dehydration of the trimers. The water structure and the water residence time surrounding the zwitterions also demonstrate substantial alteration at this length scale. This hydrophilic-to-hydrophobic transition is induced by the hydrophobic interactions of the trimer chains. Our hydration results could explain the observed trend of the superiority of the methylated carbohydrates and poly(ethylene glycol) as antifouling materials compared to corresponding hydroxyl-terminated compounds. (C) 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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