Functional polymer surfaces
Jens-Uwe Sommer, Holger Merlitz, Christoph Jentzsch, Dirk Romeis and Igor Gazuz
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.