ACS Macro Lett., 6, pp 247–251 (2017)
Marco Werner, Jasper Bathmann, Vladimir A. Baulin, and Jens-Uwe Sommer
We propose a theory to predict the passive translocation of flexible polymers through amphiphilic membranes. By using a generic model for the potential felt by a monomer across the membrane we calculate the free energy profile for homopolymers as a function of their hydrophobicity. Our model explains the translocation window and the translocation rates as a function of chain hydrophobicity in quantitative agreement with simulation results. The potential model leads to a new adsorption transition where chains switch from a one-sided bound adsorbed state into a bridging state through the membrane core by increasing the hydrophobicity beyond a critical value. We demonstrate that the hydrophobicity leading to the fastest translocation coincides with the solution for the critical point of adsorption in the limit of long chains.