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R. Descas, J.-U. Sommer and A. Blumen
Concentration and Saturation Effects of Tethered Polymer Chains on Adsorbing Surfaces

We consider end-grafted chains at an adsorbing surface under good solvent conditions using Monte Carlo simulations and scaling arguments. Grafting of chains allows us to fix the surface concentration and to study a wide range of surface concentrations from the undersaturated state of the surface up to the brushlike regime. The average extension of single chains in the direction parallel and perpendicular to the surface is analyzed using scaling arguments for the two-dimensional semidilute surface state according to Bouchaud and Daoud [J. Phys. (Paris) 48, 1991 (1987)]. We find good agreement with the scaling predictions for the scaling in the direction parallel to the surface and for surface concentrations much below the saturation concentration (dense packing of adsorption blobs). Increasing the grafting density we study the saturation effects and the oversaturation of the adsorption layer. In order to account for the effect of excluded volume on the adsorption free energy we introduce a new scaling variable related with the saturation concentration of the adsorption layer (saturation scaling). We show that the decrease of the single chain order parameter (the fraction of adsorbed monomers on the surface) with increasing concentration, being constant in the ideal semidilute surface state, is properly described by saturation scaling only. Furthermore, the simulation results for the chains' extension from higher surface concentrations up to the oversaturated state support the new scaling approach. The oversaturated state can be understood using a geometrical model which assumes a brushlike layer on top of a saturated adsorption layer. We provide evidence that adsorbed polymer layers are very sensitive to saturation effects, which start to influence the semidilute surface scaling even much below the saturation threshold.

Quelle
Journal of Chemical Physics 125

Seiten
214702-214723

DOI
http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2400222

Erschienen am
December 2006
 
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