Homopolymer adsorption and pattern recognition on hexagonal surfaces
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The recognition of a hexagonal substrate pattern by a coarse-grained flexible homopolymer during the surface adsorption process is investigated using parallel tempering (replicaexchange) Monte Carlo simulations. The strength of the interaction between a grafted homopolymer chain and a honeycomb surface, which is based on a standard Lennard-Jones potential, is changed systematically to study different hexagonally patterned substrate materials and miscellaneous implicit solvents. Introducing specific order parameters, 16 structural phases are identified at different surface adsorption strengths and temperatures and are classified into expanded, globular, droplet, semi-spherical and compact phases. Properties of structural phase transitions and representative polymer conformations are discussed to construct a complete structural hyperphase diagram for a polymer with 55 monomers. Finally, a detailed analysis of structural properties in the regime of solid-like conformations leads to the identification of different pattern recognition strategies due to conflicting ordering effects, induced by intramolecular and monomer-substrate interactions.