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Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 6, 147-155 (2001)

Oppositely charged polyelectrolytes grafted onto planar surface: Mean-field lattice theory

N.P. Shusharina and P. Linse

Physical Chemistry 1, Center for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Lund University, P.O. Box 124, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden


(Received 14 March 2001 and Received in final form 18 June 2001)

Equilibrium structures of planar polyelectrolyte brushes formed by grafted chains carrying charges of opposite sign are examined by employing mean-field lattice theory. Two brushes of different architecture are considered: one formed by grafted diblock copolymers with oppositely charged blocks and the other being a mixed brush composed of oppositely charged homopolymers. The systems display nontrivial intrinsically inhomogeneous brush structures originating from the chain connectivity and the electrostatic interaction among the segments. In addition, a coexistence of stretched and coiled chains inside the brush is observed. The influence of the charges of the blocks, the relative length of the oppositely charged blocks, and the ionic strength of the solution on the brush inhomogeneity and structural differences between the two types of brushes are discussed.

36.20.-r - Macromolecules and polymer molecules.
82.65.+r - Surface and interface chemistry.
07.05.Tp - Computer modeling and simulation.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2001