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Polymers 2016, 8(8), 296;

Semiflexible Polymers in the Bulk and Confined by Planar Walls

Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA
Institut für Physik, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany
Institute for Physical Chemistry, Bulgarian Academia of Sciences, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Martin Kröger
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 27 July 2016 / Accepted: 29 July 2016 / Published: 10 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiflexible Polymers)
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Semiflexible polymers in solution under good solvent conditions can undergo an isotropic-nematic transition. This transition is reminiscent of the well-known entropically-driven transition of hard rods described by Onsager’s theory, but the flexibility of the macromolecules causes specific differences in behavior, such as anomalous long wavelength fluctuations in the ordered phase, which can be understood by the concept of the deflection length. A brief review of the recent progress in the understanding of these problems is given, summarizing results obtained by large-scale molecular dynamics simulations and density functional theory. These results include also the interaction of semiflexible polymers with hard walls and the wall-induced nematic order, which can give rise to capillary nematization in thin film geometry. Various earlier theoretical approaches to these problems are briefly mentioned, and an outlook on the status of experiments is given. It is argued that in many cases of interest, it is not possible to describe the scaled densities at the isotropic-nematic transition as functions of the ratio of the contour length and the persistence length alone, but the dependence on the ratio of chain diameter and persistence length also needs to be considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: semiflexible polymers; isotropic-nematic behavior; molecular dynamics; density functional theory semiflexible polymers; isotropic-nematic behavior; molecular dynamics; density functional theory

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Egorov, S.A.; Milchev, A.; Binder, K. Semiflexible Polymers in the Bulk and Confined by Planar Walls. Polymers 2016, 8, 296.

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