Self-strengthening biphasic nanoparticle assemblies with intrinsic catch bonds

Kerim C. Dansuk, Sinan Keten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number85
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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