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Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 7, 13-22 (2002)
DOI: 10.1140/epje/i200101130

Mean-field theory for polymer adsorption on curved surfaces

K.I. Skau and E.M. Blokhuis

Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Gorlaeus Laboratory, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

(Received 25 July 2001 and Received in final form 5 December 2001)

We discuss the influence of polymer adsorption on the curvature energy of an interface. Following an article by Clement and Joanny (J. Phys. II 7, 973 (1997)), a mean-field theory is used to calculate the surface tension, rigidity constants and spontaneous curvature associated with both reversible and irreversible polymer adsorption. In the case of irreversible polymer adsorption it is assumed that the amount of adsorbed polymer remains constant upon curving the interface. Unfortunately, constraining the amount of polymer by adding a Lagrange multiplier affects the thermodynamic state of the (free) polymer far away from the interface. Clement and Joanny solve this problem by removing the polymers in the bulk. We allow for the presence of free polymers, but to achieve this we have to apply a local external field to keep the adsorbed amount fixed. The results of the two approaches are compared and a physical interpretation is given.

82.35.Gh - Polymers on surfaces; adhesion.
05.70.Np - Interface and surface thermodynamics.
61.25.Hq - Macromolecular and polymer solutions; polymer melts; swelling.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2002