We report results from Brownian dynamics computer simulations of systems comprised by two terminally charged hyperbranched molecules preferentially branched in the periphery, with an oppositely charged linear chain of varying length. Comparison of the findings from the present study to stoichiometric counterparts and to analogous dendrimer-based complexes, reveal that the presence of the second hyperbranched molecule incurs significant changes in the conformational characteristics of both components of the complex. Instead of step-like changes in the average size and shape of the hyperbranched component that were noted in the previously studied stoichiometric systems, a rather smooth change is observed upon increase of the length of the linear component. In addition, a markedly different behavior is also noticed in the conformational characteristics of the linear chain when compared to that in similar dendrimer-based systems. The above findings are consistent with the higher degree of deformability of the peripherally branched molecules which allow appropriate rearrangements in shape in order to accommodate the favorable Coulombic interactions between the two components of the complex. This behavior offers new insight towards the design of more efficient hyperbranched-based systems which can take advantage of the multifunctionality and the structural properties of the highly branched polymer components.
Dalakoglou, G. K., Karatasos, K., Lyulin, S. V., Larin, S. V., Darinskii, A. A., & Lyulin, A. V. (2012). Conformational effects in non-stoichiometric complexes of two hyperbranched molecules with a linear polyelectrolyte. Polymers, 4(1), 240-255. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym4010240