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The depletion interaction between two parallel repulsive walls confining a dilute solution of long and flexible polymer chains is studied by field-theoretic methods. Special attention is paid to self-avoidance between chain monomers relevant for polymers in a good solvent. Our direct approach avoids the mapping of the actual polymer chains on effective hard or soft spheres. We compare our results with recent Monte Carlo simulations [A. Milchev and K. Binder, Eur. Phys. J. B 3, 477 (1998)] and with experimental results for the depletion interaction between a spherical colloidal particle and a planar wall in a dilute solution of nonionic polymers.


©2001 American Physical Society. Original published article available at





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