Bottlebrush polymers in the melt and polyelectrolytes in solution share common structural features
Joel M. Sarapas, Tyler B. Martin, Alexandros Chremos, Jack F. Douglas, Kathryn L. Beers
Many naturally occurring polyelectrolytes of importance in diverse biological functions have the form of bottlebrush polymers, and there is correspondingly widespread interest in the synthesis and characterization of bottlebrush polymers to capitalize on the unique properties of this class of macromolecules for diverse potential applications. In the present work, we systematically investigate model synthetic and natural bottlebrush polyelectrolyte solutions through an array of measurements (osmometry, neutron and dynamic light scattering) to comparatively characterize these polymer systems over a wide range of distance and time scales. Our measurements are complemented by coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of bottlebrush polyelectrolyte solutions in the presence of explicit salt and counterions to aid in the interpretation of our experimental observations.