Particle-directed assembly of semiflexible polymer chains
We use Langevin dynamics simulations to study aggregation of semiflexible polymers driven by attractions between polymers and spherical particles. We consider a simple model with purely repulsive polymer/polymer and particle/particle interactions but attractive polymer/particle interactions. We find a rich “phase diagram” that contains several different types of globular and rod-like aggregates with either liquid-like or crystalline structure for the particle positions. Systems that exhibit rod-like aggregates with crystalline internal order exhibit a discontinuous rod-globule transition, while systems with liquid-like internal order exhibit a smooth crossover between isotropic and elongated aggregates with increasing chain stiffness. Polymers in elongated liquid-like aggregates often adopt helical configurations that wind around the axis of the aggregate.