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Neutron reflectometry yields distance-dependent structures of nanometric polymer brushes interacting across water

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Rodriguez-Loureiro,  Ignacio
Emanuel Schneck, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons208551

Scoppola,  Ernesto
Emanuel Schneck, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Bertinetti,  Luca
Luca Bertinetti (Indep. Res.), Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Barbetta,  Aurelio
Luca Bertinetti (Indep. Res.), Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Schneck,  Emanuel
Emanuel Schneck, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Rodriguez-Loureiro, I., Scoppola, E., Bertinetti, L., Barbetta, A., Fragneto, G., & Schneck, E. (2017). Neutron reflectometry yields distance-dependent structures of nanometric polymer brushes interacting across water. Soft Matter, 13(34), 5767-5777. doi:10.1039/C7SM01066D.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-C934-D
Abstract
The interaction between surfaces displaying end-grafted hydrophilic polymer brushes plays important roles in biology and in many wet-technological applications. In this context, the conformation of the brushes upon their mutual approach is crucial, because it affects interaction forces and the brushes' shear-tribological properties. While this aspect has been addressed by theory, experimental data on polymer conformations under confinement are difficult to obtain. Here, we study interacting planar brushes of hydrophilic polymers with defined length and grafting density. Via ellipsometry and neutron reflectometry we obtain pressure-distance curves and determine distance-dependent polymer conformations in terms of brush compression and reciprocative interpenetration. While the pressure-distance curves are satisfactorily described by the Alexander-de-Gennes model, the pronounced brush interpenetration as seen by neutron reflectometry motivates detailed simulation-based studies capable of treating brush interpenetration on a quantitative level.