Europhys. Lett.
Volume 64, Number 3, November 2003
Page(s) 378 - 384
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 01 November 2003
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-00205-7
Europhys. Lett., 64 (3) , pp. 378-384 (2003)

Growth of a dense polymer brush layer from solution

M. Himmelhaus1, T. Bastuck1, S. Tokumitsu1, M. Grunze1, L. Livadaru2 and H. J. Kreuzer2

1  Institut für Angewandte Physikalische Chemie, Universität Heidelberg Im Neuenheimer Feld 253, D-Heidelberg, Germany
2  Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University Halifax, N.S. B3H 3J5 Canada

(Received 10 January 2003; accepted in final form 27 August 2003)

The chemical grafting of alkanethiol-terminated poly(ethylene glycol) to a gold substrate from dimethylformamide solution was monitored by in situ ellipsometry for several molar concentrations. In the initial stage a layer of mushroom-like moieties forms and, on a much longer time scale, is followed by conformational conversion (and further adsorption) to a dense brush of stretched polymers. A statistical mechanical theory is presented that allows for a nonuniform grafting density and conformational conversion. It accounts fully for all observed details.

68.43.De - Statistical mechanics of adsorbates.
68.43.Mn - Adsorption/desorption kinetics.
82.35.Gh - Polymers on surfaces; adhesion.

© EDP Sciences 2003