Generation of mechanical force by grafted polyelectrolytes in an electric field

N. V. Brilliantov, Yu A. Budkov, C. Seidel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We study theoretically and by means of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations the generation of mechanical force by grafted polyelectrolytes in an external electric field, which favors its adsorption on the grafting plane. The force arises in deformable bodies linked to the free end of the chain. Varying the field, one controls the length of the nonadsorbed part of the chain and hence the deformation of the target body, i.e., the arising force too. We consider target bodies with a linear force-deformation relation and with a Hertzian one. While the first relation models a coiled Gaussian chain, the second one describes the force response of a squeezed colloidal particle. The theoretical dependences of generated force and compression of the target body on an applied field agree very well with the results of MD simulations. The analyzed phenomenon may play an important role in future nanomachinery, e.g., it may be used to design nanovices to fix nanosized objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number032505
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


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