The phase diagram of a single polymer chain: New insights from a new simulation method



We present simulation results for the phase behavior of a single chain for a flexible lattice polymer model using the Wang-Landau sampling idea. Applying this new algorithm to the problem of the homopolymer collapse allows us to investigate not only the high temperature coil–globule transition but also an ensuing crystallization at lower temperature. Performing a finite size scaling analysis on the two transitions, we show that they coincide for our model in the thermodynamic limit corresponding to a direct collapse of the random coil into the crystal without intermediate coil–globule transition. As a consequence, also the many chain phase diagram of this model can be predicted to consist only of gas and crystal phase in the limit of infinite chain length. This behavior is in agreement with findings on the phase behavior of hard-sphere systems with a relatively short-ranged attractive square well. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 44: 2542–2555, 2006