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Beware. What follows is primitive and possibly plain wrong.

The idea is this : can we safely reduce the size of the cell for a folding simulation ? The word 'safely' in the previous sentence must be understood in a probabilistic sense : we want the smallest cubic cell for which the probability of neighboring peptide images interacting with each other (due to PBC) is less than an arbitrarily set threshold. What follows is an attempt to do just that.

Assuming an ideal chain and using the equations from this page we have :

The average end-to-end distance is where is the number of amino acids and is the average distance.

The variance of this end-to-end distance along any of the orthogonal axes is

**If we require** that the edge of the (cubic) PBC box must be longer than at least plus this average end-to-end distance, then the minimal box size is given by

which reduces to

Applying the above equation gives the following estimates :

Number of peptide residues | Estimated minimal cubic PBC cell edge length (Å) |
---|---|

10 | 31.2 |

12 | 34.5 |

14 | 37.4 |

16 | 40.2 |

18 | 42.8 |

20 | 45.2 |

22 | 47.6 |

24 | 49.8 |

26 | 51.9 |

28 | 54.0 |

30 | 55.9 |

32 | 57.8 |

34 | 59.6 |

36 | 61.4 |