Segregated structures of ring polymer melts near the surface: a molecular dynamics simulation study

E Lee and Y Jung, SOFT MATTER, 11, 6018-6028 (2015).

DOI: 10.1039/c5sm01097g

We study structural properties of a ring polymeric melt confined in a film in comparison to a linear counterpart using molecular dynamics simulations. Local structure orderings of ring and linear polymers in the vicinity of the surface are similar to each other because the length scale of surface-monomer excluded volume interactions is smaller than the size of an ideal blob of the ring. In a long length scale, while the Silberberg hypothesis can be used to provide the physical origin of the confined linear polymer results, it no longer holds for the ring polymer case. We also present different structural properties of ring and linear polymers in a melt, including the size of polymers, the adsorbed amount, and the coordination number of a polymer. Our observation reveals that a confined ring in a melt adopts a highly segregated conformation due to a topological excluded volume repulsion, which may provide a new perspective to understand the nature of biological processes, such as territorial segregation of chromosomes in eukaryotic nuclei.

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