Persistence length of dendronized polymers: the self-consistent field theory
We present numerical results for the thermodynamic rigidity and induced persistence length of dendronized polymers with systematically varied topology of their grafts obtained by the Scheutjens–Fleer self-consistent field method. The results were compared to predictions of an analytical mean-field theory. The two approaches have marked different predictions. In particular, the analytical theory predicts that the induced persistence length and the effective segment aspect ratio of dendronized polymers are increasing functions of the degree of branching of their side chains, whereas numerical calculations provide evidence of the opposite dependences. This discrepancy is argued to be due to the ability of side chains to repartition from the compressed to the dilated regions of a curved bottle brush, which is accounted for by the numerical, but not by the analytical method. The difference is most crucial in the light of the expected ability of dendronized polymers to have a liquid crystalline ordering in semi-dilute solutions.