(40d) Brownian Dynamics Simulations of Polyelectrolyte Adsorption Onto Topographically Patterned Surfaces
The effect of patterned surface topography on the adsorption of single polyelectrolyte molecules is explored using Brownian dynamics simulations. The polyelectrolyte is modeled as a free-draining, freely jointed bead-rod chain, and electrostatic interactions are incorporated using a screened Coulombic potential with excluded volume interactions accounted for by the repulsive part of a Lennard-Jones potential. Topography consisting of periodically spaced valleys of square cross-section separated by flat hills is considered. Chain conformations are characterized for a wide range of valley widths, depths, and spacings, as well as for several different types of surface charge distrbutions. Depending on the parameter values describing the topography, the chains are found to adopt conformations ranging from flat and extended to those associated with bridge-, brush-, or semi-bridge-like structures. The formation of these structures is rationalized based on a free-energy model, which takes into account the increase in free energy due to entropic confinement, excluded volume interactions, and chain stretching as well as the decrease in free energy due to bead-surface electrostatic attraction. The results of this work are expected to be useful in designing patterned surface topography to control the conformations of adsorbed polyelectrolyte molecules.