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The interaction of a long flexible polymer chain with mesoscopic particles of spherical or elongated cylindrical shape is investigated by field-theoretic methods using the polymer-magnet analogy. In the case that these particles are immersed in a dilute polymer solution and exhibit purely repulsive surfaces we study density profiles for monomers and chain ends near such a particle, the change of configurational entropy by immersing a particle into the solution, and the depletion interaction between a particle and a distant planar wall. Both ideal chains and chains with an excluded-volume interaction are considered. We also analyze particle surfaces with a short-ranged attraction and the adsorption-desorption transition for an ideal polymer chain. Properties such as the number of surface contacts are evaluated both in the adsorbed limit, in which the thickness of the adsorbed layer is much smaller than the unperturbed polymer size so that ground-state dominance applies, and at the adsorption threshold.


©1996 American Physical Society. Original published version available at

Publication Title

Physical Review E





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