The adsorption of single polyelectrolyte molecules onto surfaces decorated with periodic arrays of charged patches was studied using Brownian dynamics simulations. A free-draining, freely jointed bead-rod chain was used to model the polyelectrolyte, and electrostatic interactions were incorporated using a screened Coulombic potential with the excluded volume accounted for by a hard-sphere potential. The simulations predicted that the polyelectrolyte lies close to the adsorbing surface if the patch length, surface charge density, and screening length are sufficiently large. Chain conformations were found to be very sensitive to patch length, patch spacing, and the nature of the charge on adjacent patches. This is due both to the size of the polymer relative to patch length and spacing and to the structure of the electric field near the surface. In some cases, the component of the radius of gyration parallel to the surface can be made smaller than its free-solution value, which is contrary to what is observed for a uniformly charged surface. Isolated charged patches were also considered, and significant adsorption was observed above a critical surface charge density. The results demonstrate how polyelectrolyte conformations can be controlled by the design of the charged patches and may be useful for applications in which adsorbed polyelectrolyte films play a key role.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - Feb 13 2007|