skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on January 11, 2019

Title: Structure-induced switching of interpolymer adhesion at a solid–polymer melt interface

In this paper, we report a link between the interfacial structure and adhesive property of homopolymer chains physically adsorbed (i.e., via physisorption) onto solids. Polyethylene oxide (PEO) was used as a model and two different chain conformations of the adsorbed polymer were created on silicon substrates via the well-established Guiselin's approach: “flattened chains” which lie flat on the solid and are densely packed, and “loosely adsorbed polymer chains” which form bridges jointing up nearby empty sites on the solid surface and cover the flattened chains. We investigated the adhesion properties of the two different adsorbed chains using a custom-built adhesion testing device. Bilayers of a thick PEO overlayer on top of the flattened chains or loosely adsorbed chains were subjected to the adhesion test. The results revealed that the flattened chains do not show any adhesion even with the chemically identical free polymer on top, while the loosely adsorbed chains exhibit adhesion. Neutron reflectivity experiments corroborated that the difference in the interfacial adhesion is not attributed to the interfacial brodening at the free polymer–adsorbed polymer interface. Instead, coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation results suggest that the tail parts of the loosely adsorbed chains act as “connector molecules”, bridging the free chainsmore » and substrate surface and improving the interfacial adhesion. Finally, these findings not only shed light on the structure–property relationship at the interface, but also provide a novel approach for developing sticking/anti-sticking technologies through precise control of the interfacial polymer nanostructures.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [5]
  1. Stony Brook Univ., NY (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering
  2. Stony Brook Univ., NY (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering. Dept. of Chemistry
  3. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States). National Synchrotron Light Source II
  4. National Inst. of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD (United States). Center for Neutron Research
  5. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences. Computational Sciences and Engineering Division
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; AC02-98CH10886; CMMI-1332499
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Soft Matter
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 14; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1744-683X
Royal Society of Chemistry
Research Org:
Stony Brook Univ., NY (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: