Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Polyelectrolyte Adsorption
J.-M. Y. Carrillo and A. V. Dobrynin, Langmuir, 23, 2472-2482, (2007).
We have performed molecular dynamics simulations of polyelectrolyte adsorption at oppositely charged surfaces from dilute polyelectrolyte solutions. In our simulations, polyelectrolytes were modeled by chains of charged Lennard-Jones particles with explicit countenons. We have studied the effects of the surface charge density, surface charge distribution, solvent quality for the polymer backbone, strength of the short-range interactions between polymers and substrates on the polymer surface coverage, and the thickness of the adsorbed layer, The polymer surface coverage monotonically increases with increasing surface charge density for almost all studied systems except for the system of hydrophilic polyelectrolytes adsorbing at hydrophilic surfaces. In this case the polymer surface coverage saturates at high surface charge densities. This is due to additional monomer-monomer repulsion between adsorbed polymer chains, which becomes important in dense polymeric layers. These interactions also preclude surface overcharging by hydrophilic polyelectrolytes at high surface charge densities. The thickness of the adsorbed layer shows monotonic dependence on the surface charge density for the systems of hydrophobic polyelectrolytes for both hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. Thickness is a decreasing function of the surface charge density in the case of hydrophilic surfaces while it increases with the surface charge density for hydrophobic substrates. Qualitatively different behavior is observed for the thickness of the adsorbed layer of hydrophilic polyelectrolytes at hydrophilic surfaces. In this case, thickness first decreases with increasing surface charge density, then it begins to increase.
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