Particle-directed assembly of semiflexible polymer chains

M McGovern and KD Dorfman and DC Morse, SOFT MATTER, 12, 6214-6222 (2016).

DOI: 10.1039/c6sm00785f

We use Langevin dynamics simulations to study aggregation of semiflexible polymers driven by attractions between polymers and spherical particles. We consider a simple model with purely repulsive polymer/polymer and particle/particle interactions but attractive polymer/particle interactions. We find a rich "phase diagram'' that contains several different types of globular and rod-like aggregates with either liquid-like or crystalline structure for the particle positions. Systems that exhibit rod-like aggregates with crystalline internal order exhibit a discontinuous rod-globule transition, while systems with liquid-like internal order exhibit a smooth crossover between isotropic and elongated aggregates with increasing chain stiffness. Polymers in elongated liquid-like aggregates often adopt helical configurations that wind around the axis of the aggregate.

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