The effects of phonons on crystallization and crystal morphology are investigated. It is shown that the commensuration of the lattice vibrations with the lattice will favor certain crystal morphologies. Vibrational effects can also be important for the molecular structure of chain molecules. In this case, the contribution from quantum mode forces to denaturation is estimated by using a simple phenomenological model describing the molecule as a continuum. The frequencies of the vibrational modes depend on the molecular dimensionality; hence, the zero-point energies for the folded and the denatured protein are estimated to differ by several electron volts. For a biomolecule, such energy is significant and may contribute to cold denaturing as seen for proteins. This is consistent with the empirical observation that cold denaturation is exothermic and hot denaturation endothermic.
Journal of Macromolecular Science-physics, 2002, Vol B41, Issue 4-6, p. 787-795