Communication: Direct observation of a hydrophobic bond in loop closure of a capped (-OCH2CH2-) n oligomer in water

Mangesh I. Chaudhari, Lawrence R. Pratt, Michael E. Paulaitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The small r variation of the probability density P(r) for end-to-end separations of a -CH2CH capped (-OCH2CH2-) n oligomer in water is computed to be closely similar to the CH4 CH4 potential of mean force under the same circumstances. Since the aqueous solution CH4 CH4 potential of mean force is the natural physical definition of a primitive hydrophobic bond, the present result identifies an experimentally accessible circumstance for direct observation of a hydrophobic bond which has not been observed previously because of the low solubility of CH4 in water. The physical picture is that the soluble chain molecules carry the capping groups into aqueous solution, and permits them to find one another with reasonable frequency. Comparison with the corresponding results without the solvent shows that hydration of the solute oxygen atoms swells the chain molecule globule. This supports the view that the chain molecule globule might have a secondary effect on the hydrophobic interaction that is of first interest here. The volume of the chain molecule globule is important for comparing the probabilities with and without solvent because it characterizes the local concentration of capping groups. Study of other capping groups to enable x-ray and neutron diffraction measurements of P(r) is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number231102
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 21 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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