What is it about?

Copolymers, polymers consisting of more than one type of monomer, are key to biological systems (e.g. DNA, RNA and proteins). We present a new method for analysing models of copolymerisation where monomers are added to a growing copolymer chain by a complicated network of sub-steps.

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Why is it important?

With this method, for the first time for complicated systems, we can determine what sequences of monomers will appear in the copolymer, production speed and energetic cost. This can help us both study more realistic models of biological systems and design our own chemical copying machines.


The method presented in this article makes use of a number of fun and interesting mathematical techniques which allow us to visually break down complicated problems into smaller solvable ones. This often makes the problems seem more like a puzzle than a detailed calculation. I hope that with this article, not only can we provide a useful tool for analysing copolymerisation, but also inspire others to use similar mathematics to break down their complex problems.

Benjamin Qureshi
Imperial College London

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A universal method for analyzing copolymer growth, The Journal of Chemical Physics, March 2023, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0133489.
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