Individual bottle brush molecules in dense 2D layers restoring high degree of extension after collapse-decollapse cycle: directly measured scaling exponent

Eur Phys J E Soft Matter. 2009 May;29(1):73-85. doi: 10.1140/epje/i2009-10451-5. Epub 2009 May 6.


We prepared dense films of adsorbed brush-like macromolecules on mica substrate by transfer of compressed Langmuir monolayers from water subphase. The main macromolecular contours in the dense films were clearly resolved by SFM. The films were subjected to successive treatments by ethanol and water vapours. In accordance with previous results for isolated macromolecules, the films underwent collapse and subsequent decollapse morphological transformations in the changing vapour environment. Statistical analysis of the macromolecular dimensions in the films allowed us to measure the values of the scaling exponent nu determining the correlation between mean lateral and linear dimensions of the macromolecules. The analysis showed that the macromolecular conformations in the film as transferred were similar to the previously described conformations of the same macromolecules deposited directly on mica as isolated chains at much lower surface densities. The determined nu was close to the 0.75 value corresponding to the 2D SAW statistics. We assumed that the molecules retained the high degree of extension during the compression step due to suppressed reorganisation of the side chains. Differently from previous observations for isolated macromolecules, the restored conformations in the dense films after collapse-decollapse cycle were more extended with the nu of about 0.73 value. A theoretical explanation of the high degree of re-extension is proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrylates / chemistry
  • Adsorption
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Models, Molecular
  • Polymethacrylic Acids / chemistry
  • Volatilization


  • Acrylates
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Polymethacrylic Acids
  • polymethacrylic acid
  • n-butyl acrylate