Quantum mode phonon forces between chainmolecules

Jakob Bohr

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A phenomenological description of the contributions of phonons to molecular force is developed. It uses an approximation to consider macromolecules as solid continua. The molecular modes of a molecule can then be characterized by a Debye-like description of the partition function. The resulting bimolecular interaction is a truly many-body force that is temperature dependent and can be of the order of 1 eV. These phonon forces depend on molecular shape, composition, and density. They may therefore also be important for large molecular conformational changes, including the unfolding of chain molecules. For the later case, a significant change in zero-point energy is found. This may be the underlying cause for cold denaturation of proteins. (C) 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Quantum Chemistry
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)249-252
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • zero-point energy
  • cold denaturation
  • phonons
  • modes
  • forces


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