On Davydov's alpha-helix solitons

J. M. Hyman, D. W. McLaughlin, A. C. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerical studies of Davydov's nonlinear dynamic model for the α-helix protein confirm his prediction of soliton formation. These solitons are robust localized dynamic entities that couple molecular (amide-I) vibrations to longitudinal sound waves; they may provide an efficient mechanism for energy transport in biological systems. Both the numerical studies and analytical computations show a threshold level of non-linearity below which solitons will not form. A rough estimate indicates this nonlinearity has the required order of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-44
Number of pages22
JournalPhysica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics


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