Effect of comonomer sequence distribution on the adsorption of random copolymers onto impenetrable flat surfaces

Young K. Jhon, James J. Semler, Jan Genzer*, Martin Beevers, Olga A. Gus'kova, Pavel G. Khalatur, Alexei R. Khokhlov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the effect of comonomer sequence distributions in random copolymers (RCPs) on RCP adsorption on flat impenetrable surfaces. RCP poly(styrene-co-4-bromostyrene) (PBrxS), where x denotes the mole fraction of 4-bromostryrene (4-BrS), is prepared by bromination of parent homopolystyrene. By varying the solvent quality during the bromination, either "truly random"(good solvent) or "random-blocky"(poor solvent) PBrxS RCPs are prepared. Adsorption studies of PBrxS from various solvents at silica surfaces reveal that the adsorption of PBrxS increases with (1) increasing blockiness of the macromolecule, (2) increasing content of 4-BrS in PBrxS, and (3) decreasing solvent quality. Additionally, the effect of comonomer sequence distribution on RCP adsorption is modeled in detail using a coarse-grained statistical mechanical model and fully atomistic simulations based on configurational-biased grand-canonical Monte Carlo (CB-GCMC) technique. The main result from the simulations can be summarized as follows: (1) Increasing the degree of "blockiness"in comonomer distribution enhances the adsorption of macromolecules dissolved in a good solvent. (2) Near the adsorption transition, the amount of adsorbed segments in "random- blocky"copolymers is larger relative to their regular multiblock counterparts. (3) Lowering the solvent quality facilitates copolymer adsorption. Overall, the findings from computer modeling are found to be in a good agreement with the experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2843-2853
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Early online date9 Mar 2009
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2009


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