AuthorM.S. Ozmusul and R.C. Picu
TitleStructure of polymers in the vicinity of curved impenetrable surfaces - the athermal case
AbstractThe influence of the presence of a curved (convex) solid wall on the conformations of long, flexible polymer chains is studied in a dense polymer system and in the athermal limit by means of lattice Monte Carlo simulations. It is found that the chain conformation entropy drives a reduction of the density at the wall, similar to the flat wall case. The chain end density is higher next to the interface compared to the bulk polymer (segregation), with the difference increasing with chain length. The wall curvature does not significantly affect the segregation. The bonds are preferentially oriented in the direction tangential to the wall. The distance from the interface over which this effect is observed is about two bond lengths. Similar results are obtained when probing the preferential orientation of chain segments. In this case, the perturbed region has a thickness on the order of the considered probing chain segment length. This suggests that experimental results on the thickness of the "bonded layer" next to a wall depend on the wavelength of the radiation employed for probing. The chains are ellipsoidal in the bulk and rotate close to the surface with the large semi-axis of the ellipsoid normal to the line connecting their center of mass with the filler center. Since there is no energetic interaction with the filler, no adsorption transition is observed, but the chains tend to wrap around the filler once the gyration radius becomes comparable to the filler radius.