Probing Collective Motions of Terminally Anchored Polymers

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Science  20 Dec 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5295, pp. 2041-2044
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5295.2041


Polymer chains attached by one end to an impenetrable surface at high coverage exemplify a tethered layer of mesoscopic dimensions. At equilibrium, thermal fluctuations of the segment density profile of the brushlike layer reflect the tethered chain dynamics; the probing of these fluctuations by evanescent-wave dynamic light scattering is reported. By utilizing a set of terminally attached layers with thicknesses (L0) from 45 to 130 nanometers, it was found that there is a preferred wavelength of order L0 of these fluctuations with a concurrent slowing down of their thermal decay rate. This technique could open the route for the investigation of the largely unexplored area of polymer surface dynamics.