Lateral diffusion of single polymer molecules at interfaces between water and oil
Zhuo Li, Jingfa Yang*, Javoris V. Hollingsworthc, Jiang Zhao*
RSC Advances, 2020, 28, 16565
Lateral diffusion of polymer molecules at the interfaces between immiscible oil and water is investigated at the single molecular level. The interfaces between water and alkanes are chosen as the model systems and polyethylene oxide (PEO) is the model polymer. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy is used to measure the interfacial diffusion of fluorescence-labeled PEO with its molecular weight ranging over more than an order of magnitude. It is discovered that the interfacial diffusion coefficient scales with the molecular weight by the exponent of −0.5. Detailed analysis shows that the PEO chain takes an ideal two-dimensional random coil conformation at these fluidic interfaces and the bigger contribution from water's hydrodynamic friction is discovered.