Volume 78, Number 6, June 2007
Article Number 68006
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 04 June 2007
EPL, 78 (2007) 68006
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/78/68006

Enhancing polymer adsorption by lateral pulling

A. Serr and R. R. Netz

Physics Department, TU Munich - 85748 Garching, Germany

received 16 March 2007; accepted in final form 14 May 2007; published June 2007
published online 4 June 2007

The non-equilibrium adsorption of a single non-grafted polymer to a flat surface is investigated. Using Brownian dynamics simulations we consider the influence of a lateral external force applied on one end of the polymer, as experimentally realized in AFM pulling experiments. The external force flattens the chain perpendicular to the pulling direction and hence favors the chain adsorption; this mechanism is rationalized in terms of a renormalization of the polymer Kuhn length. Our results are also relevant for polymer adsorption in elongational or simple shear flow and for sheared polymer brushes in contact with an adsorbing substrate.

82.35.Gh - Polymers on surfaces; adhesion.
83.50.-v - Deformation and flow.
82.37.Gk - STM and AFM manipulations of a single molecule.

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007