Polymer-decorated tethered membranes under good- and poor-solvent conditions
Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden, Hohe Strasse 6, 01069, Dresden, Germany
2 Institute of Theoretical Physics, Technische Universität Dresden, 01069, Dresden, Germany
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Accepted: 15 March 2010
Published online: 27 April 2010
We study tethered membranes grafted by polymer chains on one side. Mean-field and scaling arguments predicting a spontaneous curvature are compared to the results of lattice-based Monte Carlo simulations using the Bond Fluctuation Model, which are carried out for various grafting densities and chain lengths. We show that already slightly overlapping chains bend the membrane significantly. This proves the entropic origin for the bending stiffness, which is of order kT . To understand the membrane curvature under conditions of very small bending stiffness we apply a geometrical model which takes into account the state of chains at the overlap threshold. Applying a thermal solvent model for the grafted chains, we demonstrate that the bending direction of the membrane can be triggered by variation of the solvent quality. This indicates that polymer-decorated membranes may serve as switchable nanoscale devices.
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2010