A coarse-grained model for PCL: conformation, self-assembly of MePEG-b-PCL amphiphilic diblock copolymers

Abhinav S. Raman, Aleksey Vishnyakov, Y. C. Chiew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) is a biodegradable hydrophobic polyester that has been widely used in medical devices, tissue engineering and nanoparticle-based drug delivery. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CGMD) has been employed to study and gain insights into the conformational, structural and self-assembly behaviour of polymers, lipids and amphiphilic macromolecules. In this work, we developed a model for PCL within the framework of the MARTINI coarse-grained force field. The non-bonded interactions were based on the existing MARTINI bead types, while the bonded interactions were mapped onto a PCL rendition obtained from atomistic simulations. The model accurately reproduces the structural and dynamic properties of the PCL homopolymer and shows very reasonable temperature and solvent transferability. We also studied self-assembly of MePEG-b-PCL linear diblock copolymers using an existing MARTINI model for MePEG (Methoxy Polyethylene glycol), by analysing the critical micelle concentration (CMC), as well as the shape, size and morphology of the nano-polymeric micelles. We obtained excellent agreement of the CMC, while the size was under-predicted compared to experimental data. This robust model paves the way for CGMD modelling of PCL and serves as a starting point for future designs of PCL-related polymeric systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Simulation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 22 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • PCL
  • coarse-grained
  • micelles
  • self-assembly


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