A new chemical-mechanical paradigm for soft nano-scale assemblies: Predicting shape and fluctuations of chiral nanoribbons
By combining the theory of incompatible elastic sheets with chemical analysis we introduce a new paradigm for the modeling and analysis of nano-scale self-assembled solid sheets. Analysis of molecular interactions provides inputs to the elastic model, which determines the supramolecular structure and its thermal fluctuations.
The approach is demonstrated in a combined experimental-theoretical study of nano-scale self-assembled ribbons, made of lipids and peptides with chiral head groups. We analytically derive quantitative predictions for ribbons configurations and shape fluctuations. These are confirmed experimentally, revealing unusual mechanics and statistics, indicating that the shape and mechanics of the suprasturactures are governed by geometrical incompatibility.