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J Biol Phys. 2013 Jan;39(1):15-35. doi: 10.1007/s10867-012-9283-7. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Nano breathers and molecular dynamics simulations in hydrogen-bonded chains.

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Department of Physics, Periyar University, Salem, 636 011, India.


Non-linear localization phenomena in biological lattices have attracted a steadily growing interest and their existence has been predicted in a wide range of physical settings. We investigate the non-linear proton dynamics of a hydrogen-bonded chain in a semi-classical limit using the coherent state method combined with a Holstein-Primakoff bosonic representation. We demonstrate that even a weak inherent discreteness in the hydrogen-bonded (HB) chain may drastically modify the dynamics of the non-linear system, leading to instabilities that have no analog in the continuum limit. We suggest a possible localization mechanism of polarization oscillations of protons in a hydrogen-bonded chain through modulational instability analysis. This mechanism arises due to the neighboring proton-proton interaction and coherent tunneling of protons along hydrogen bonds and/or around heavy atoms. We present a detailed analysis of modulational instability, and highlight the role of the interaction strength of neighboring protons in the process of bioenergy localization. We perform molecular dynamics simulations and demonstrate the existence of nanoscale discrete breather (DB) modes in the hydrogen-bonded chain. These highly localized and long-lived non-linear breather modes may play a functional role in targeted energy transfer in biological systems.

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