Europhys. Lett.
Volume 62, Number 6, June 2003
Page(s) 876 - 882
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 01 June 2003
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-00454-4
Europhys. Lett., 62 (6) , pp. 876-882 (2003)

Irreversible vs. reversible bridging: When is kinetics relevant for adhesion?

A. G. Moreira1, C. Jeppesen2, F. Tanaka3 and C. M. Marques4

1  Material Research Laboratory, UCSB - Santa Barbara, CA 90095-1547, USA
2  Physics Department, University of Southern Denmark - Campusvej 55 DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark
3  Department of Polymer Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering Kyoto University - Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
4  LDFC-CNRS UMR 7506 - 3 rue de l'Université, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France

(Received 20 January 2003; accepted in final form 15 April 2003)

We study theoretically the adhesion between two approaching surfaces, one containing tethered ligands and the other receptors. Using the reaction-diffusion formalism, we show that the range of adhesion $\ell_{\ab{r}}$ is generally determined by a combination of tether dynamics, ligand-receptor affinity and experimental speed of approach v. Contrary to previous studies, we fully account for back reactions and are thus able to describe the crossover between irreversible adhesion at large affinities or high speed v and reversible adhesion at small affinities or low speed. We also briefly discuss the case of rupture and show that in the limit of irreversible adhesion the rupture occurs always at a larger distance than $\ell_{\ab{r}}$ determined for approaching surfaces.

68.35.Np - Adhesion.
82.40.-g - Chemical kinetics and reactions: special regimes and techniques.
05.20.-y - Classical statistical mechanics.

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