Functional polymer surfaces


Jens-Uwe Sommer and Holger Merlitz


Polymer brushes are made of polymers that are densely grafted onto a substrate. If the grafting density significantly exceeds the overlap density of the macromolecules, the polymers are stretching away from the substrate to form a soft and flexible layer. These brushes can be made of a single polymer species (homopolymer brushes) or of several species (heteropolymer brushes, see the figure to the right as an example for a binary brush).Polymer brushes are of particular interest in applications like colloid stabilization, lubrication, functional textiles or biotechnology.In our research group we analyze the physical properties of different kinds of polymer brushes with the methods of computer simulation, scaling theory, self-consistent field theory and further types of mean-field theory. In what follows we offer a short overview of our recent results.


Simulation of brushes that contain FRET fluorescence markers


  1. Quinn A. Besford, Huaisong Yong, Holger Merlitz, Aandrew J. Christofferson, Jens-Uwe Sommer, Petra Uhlmann, Andreas Fery
    FRET-Integrated Polymer Brushes for Spatially Resolved Sensing of Changes in Polymer Conformation
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 60 (2021), 16600.
  2. Inge Bos, Holger Merlitz, Alice Rosenthal, Petra Uhlmann and Jens-Uwe Sommer
    Design of binary polymer brushes with tuneable functionality
    Soft Matter 35 (2018) 7237   
  3. Cheng-Wu Li, Holger Merlitz, Chen-Xu Wu and Jens-Uwe Sommer
    Nanopores as Switchable Gates for Nanoparticles: A Molecular Dynamics Study
    Macromolecules 51 (2018) 6238
  4. Cheng-Wu Li, Holger Merlitz, Chen-Xu Wu and Jens-Uwe Sommer
    The structure of brushes made of dendrimers: Recent advances
    Polymer 98 (2016) 437