(303c) Theory of Polyelectrolyte Adsorption Onto Surfaces Patterned with Charge and Topography
Mean-field theory is used to derive criteria for the adsorption of a weakly charged polyelectrolyte molecule from salt solution onto surfaces patterned with charge and topography. For flat surfaces patterned with periodic arrays of charged patches, the adsorbed layer thickness predicted using mean-field theory and that found by Brownian dynamics simulations are in quantitative agreement in the strong-adsorption regime. This corresponds to sufficiently small inverse Debye screening length, or to sufficiently large effective surface charge density or charge per chain segment. Qualitative agreement is obtained in the weak-adsorption regime, and for the case where surfaces are patterned with both charge and topography. For uniformly charged, sinusoidally corrugated surfaces, the theory predicts that the critical temperature required for adsorption can be greater than or less than the corresponding value for a flat surface depending on the relative values of the inverse screening length and the corrugation wavenumber. If the surface charge is also allowed to vary sinusoidally, then adsorption is predicted to occur only when the topography crests have a surface charge opposite to that of the polyelectrolyte. Surfaces patterned with rectangular indentations having charged bottoms which are separated by flat charged plateaus are investigated as well. Adsorption is predicted to occur even when the net surface charge is zero, provided that the plateaus have a charge opposite to that of the polyelectrolyte. If the charge on the plateaus and polyelectrolyte is the same, adsorption may still occur if electrostatic attraction from the indentation bottoms is sufficiently strong.