Polymer brushes near the crystallization density

GL He and H Merlitz and JU Sommer and CX Wu, EUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL E, 24, 325-330 (2007).

DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2007-10243-y

In this paper, polymer brushes are studied via molecular-dynamics simulations at very high grafting densities, where the crossover between the brush regime and the polymer-crystal regime is taking place. This crossover is directly observed with the structure factor and pair- correlation function. With increasing grafting density, this crystallization is progressing from the core layer of the brush towards the surface layer. The same process is analyzed using the lateral fluctuations of the monomers as a signature of their diminishing mobility. Additionally, bond forces and the chain excess free energy indicate a transition from the brush regime to the overstretched regime, which is in agreement with predictions of a modified self-consistent field theory.

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