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Periodic Copolymers at Selective Interfaces: A Large Deviations Approach

Erwin Bolthausen and Giambattista Giacomin
The Annals of Applied Probability
Vol. 15, No. 1B (Feb., 2005), pp. 963-983
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30038341
Page Count: 21
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Periodic Copolymers at Selective Interfaces: A Large Deviations Approach
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Abstract

We analyze a (1 + 1)-dimension directed random walk model of a polymer dipped in a medium constituted by two immiscible solvents separated by a flat interface. The polymer chain is heterogeneous in the sense that a single monomer may energetically favor one or the other solvent. We focus on the case in which the polymer types are periodically distributed along the chain or, in other words, the polymer is constituted of identical stretches of fixed length. The phenomenon that one wants to analyze is the localization at the interface: energetically favored configurations place most of the monomers in the preferred solvent and this can be done only if the polymer sticks close to the interface. We investigate, by means of large deviations, the energy-entropy competition that may lead, according to the value of the parameters (the strength of the coupling between monomers and solvents and an asymmetry parameter), to localization. We express the free energy of the system in terms of a variational formula that we can solve. We then use the result to analyze the phase diagram.

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