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Issue 48, 2017
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Unfolding of a comb-like polymer in a poor solvent: translation of macromolecular architecture in the force–deformation spectra

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Abstract

A numerical self-consistent field modeling approach was employed to study the mechanical unfolding of a globule made by comb-like polymers in a poor solvent with the aim of unraveling how the macromolecular architecture affects the shape of the single-molecule force–deformation curves. We demonstrate that the dependence of the restoring force on the imposed extension of the main chain of the comb-like polymer exhibits a characteristic oscillatory shape in the intermediate deformation range. Theoretical arguments are developed that enable us to relate the shape of the patterns on the force–deformation curves to the molecular architecture (grafting density and length of the side chains) and interaction parameters. Thus, the results of our study suggest a new approach for the determination of macromolecular topology from single-molecule mechanical unfolding experiments.

Graphical abstract: Unfolding of a comb-like polymer in a poor solvent: translation of macromolecular architecture in the force–deformation spectra

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Aug 2017, accepted on 10 Nov 2017 and first published on 27 Nov 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01589E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017,13, 9147-9161
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    Unfolding of a comb-like polymer in a poor solvent: translation of macromolecular architecture in the force–deformation spectra

    A. A. Polotsky, T. M. Birshtein, A. A. Mercurieva, F. A. M. Leermakers and O. V. Borisov, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 9147
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01589E

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