Dendron brushes and dendronized polymers: a theoretical outlook
Dendron brushes are molecular structures built up of treelike macromolecules, with multiple generations of branches, grafted with a root segment to a surface (particle) or to a backbone chain (dendronized polymer) with a sufficiently high grafting density so that the dendrons interact laterally. Recent advances in the theory of dendron brushes are highlighted and complemented by insights from numerical self-consistent field modelling. Our focus is on controversial issues, which are still under debate, such as, the strain distribution in individual dendrons and the appearance of distinct populations with a different extent of stretching for dendrons in planar brushes. We anticipate that dendritic brushes (i) show a strong resistance against bending, which may manifest in a high apparent persistence length of dendronized polymers, and (ii) have an unusually large beneficial effect on the colloidal stability due to the sharp steric repulsive interaction observed when these surface layers are pushed towards the overlap.