Rolling and aging in temperature-ramp soft adhesion.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Physical review. E, Volume 97, Issue 1-1, p.012609 (2018)




Immediately before adsorption to a horizontal substrate, sinking polymer-coated colloids can undergo a complex sequence of landing, jumping, crawling, and rolling events. Using video tracking, we studied the soft adhesion to a horizontal flat plate of micron-size colloids coated by a controlled molar fraction f of the poly(lysine)-grafted-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PLL-g-PNIPAM) which is a temperature-sensitive polymer. We ramp the temperature from below to above T_{c}=32±1^{∘}C, at which the PNIPAM polymer undergoes a transition, triggering attractive interaction between microparticles and surface. The adsorption rate, the effective in-plane (x-y) diffusion constant, and the average residence time distribution over z were extracted from the Brownian motion records during last seconds before immobilization. Experimental data are understood within a rate-equations-based model that includes aging effects and includes three populations: the untethered, the rolling, and the arrested colloids. We show that preadsorption dynamics casts a characteristic scaling function α(f) proportional to the number of available PNIPAM patches met by soft contact during Brownian rolling. In particular, the increase of in-plane diffusivity with increasing f is understood: The stickiest particles have the shortest rolling regime prior to arrest, so that their motion is dominated by the untethered phase.