Protein–ligand complexes with catch bonds exhibit prolonged lifetimes when subject to tensile force, which is a desirable yet elusive attribute for man-made nanoparticle interfaces and assemblies. Most designs proposed so far rely on macromolecular linkers with complicated folds rather than particles exhibiting simple dynamic shapes. Here, we establish a scissor-type X-shaped particle design for achieving intrinsic catch bonding ability with tunable force-enhanced lifetimes under thermal excitations. Molecular dynamics simulations are carried out to illustrate equilibrium self-assembly and force-enhanced bond lifetime of dimers and fibers facilitated by secondary interactions that form under tensile force. The non-monotonic force dependence of the fiber breaking kinetics is well-estimated by an analytical model. Our design concepts for shape-changing particles illuminates a path towards novel nanoparticle or colloidal assemblies that have the passive ability to tune the strength of their interfaces with applied force, setting the stage for self-assembling materials with novel mechanical functions and rheological properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)