The electrostatic origin of chiral patterns on nanofibers

Graziano Vernizzi*, Kevin L. Kohlstedt, Monica Olvera De La Cruz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Several recent research works focus on nanofibers covered by molecules that self-assemble into chiral helices. While the formation of helical structures has been explained mostly on a case by case basis, the ubiquitous presence of chirality at the nanoscale suggests the existence of a unifying description. We present a model for computing the optimal arrangement of charged stripes over a cylindrical fiber, and show how helical structures can arise spontaneously from screened Coulomb interactions. We obtain the phase diagram and discuss some applications to nanoscale systems such as self-assembled peptide nanotubes, carbon nanotubes, and filamentous viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-739
Number of pages4
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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