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Title: Compression induced phase transition of nematic brush: A mean-field theory study

Responsive behavior of polymer brush to the external compression is one of the most important characters for its application. For the flexible polymer brush, in the case of low grafting density, which is widely studied by the Gaussian chain model based theory, the compression leads to a uniform deformation of the chain. However, in the case of high grafting density, the brush becomes anisotropic and the nematic phase will be formed. The normal compression tends to destroy the nematic order, which leads to a complex responsive behaviors. Under weak compression, chains in the nematic brush are buckled, and the bending energy and Onsager interaction give rise to the elasticity. Under deep compression, the responsive behaviors of the nematic polymer brush depend on the chain rigidity. For the compressed rigid polymer brush, the chains incline to re-orientate randomly to maximize the orientational entropy and its nematic order is destroyed. For the compressed flexible polymer brush, the chains incline to fold back to keep the nematic order. A buckling-folding transition takes place during the compressing process. For the compressed semiflexible brush, the chains are collectively tilted to a certain direction, which leads to the breaking of the rotational symmetry in the lateralmore » plane. These responsive behaviors of nematic brush relate to the properties of highly frustrated worm-like chain, which is hard to be studied by the traditional self-consistent field theory due to the difficulty to solve the modified diffusion equation. To overcome this difficulty, a single chain in mean-field theory incorporating Monte Carlo simulation and mean-field theory for the worm-like chain model is developed in present work. This method shows high performance for entire region of chain rigidity in the confined condition.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190 (China)
  2. School of Science, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing 100044 (China)
  3. Department of Physics, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875 (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22493280
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 143; Journal Issue: 20; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; ANISOTROPY; BUCKLING; COMPLEXES; COMPRESSION; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; DENSITY; DIFFUSION EQUATIONS; ELASTICITY; ENTROPY; GRAFTS; MEAN-FIELD THEORY; MONTE CARLO METHOD; PHASE TRANSFORMATIONS; POLYMERS; SELF-CONSISTENT FIELD