Dendrimers in Solution: Insight from Theory and Simulation


  • PACS numbers 61.25.Hq, 61.12.-q, 61.20.Gy, 82.70.Dd


A variety of experimental and theoretical approaches show that, akin to linear polymers, dendrimers in good solvent conditions are best described as flexible macromolecular aggregates with a dense core and fluctuating monomer groups. We present theoretical and simulational evidence of how the shape and inner structure of dendrimers depends on the generation number as well as the effective interactions that exist between dendrimers in solution. These approaches based on simplified dendritic structures show there is a tunable and ultrasoft interaction between the centers of the solublized dendrimers. Results from small-angle neutron scattering data confirm the theory and indicate that dendrimers are model systems of ultrasoft colloids that bridge the gap between polymers and hard spheres. Dendrimers can form a class of materials analogous to the related systems of star polymers and block copolymer micelles which exhibit special properties.