A better understanding of the structure of polymers at solid interfaces is crucial for designing various polymer nano-composite materials from structural materials to nanomaterials for use in industry. To this end, the first step is to obtain information on how synthetic polymer chains adsorb onto a solid surface. We closely followed the trajectory of a single polymer chain on the surface as a function of temperature using atomic force microscopy. Combining the results with a full-atomistic molecular dynamics simulation revealed that the chain became more rigid on the way to reaching a pseudo-equilibrium state, accompanied by a change in its local conformation from mainly loops to trains. This information will be useful for regulating the physical properties of polymers at the interface.
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