Brush in the bath of active particles: Anomalous stretching of chains and distribution of particles

HS Li and BK Zhang and J Li and WD Tian and K Chen, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 143, 224903 (2015).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4936921

The interaction between polymer brush and colloidal particles has been intensively studied in the last two decades. Here, we consider a flat chain-grafted substrate immersed in a bath of active particles. Simulations show that an increase in the self-propelling force causes an increase in the number of particles that penetrate into the brush. Anomalously, the particle density inside the main body of the brush eventually becomes higher than that outside the brush at very large self-propelling force. The grafted chains are further stretched due to the steric repulsion from the intruded particles. Upon the increase of the self-propelling force, distinct stretching behaviors of the chains were observed for low and high grafting densities. Surprisingly, we find a weak descent of the average end-to-end distance of chains at high grafting density and very large force which is reminiscent of the compression effect of a chain in the active bath. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

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