Proximal-layer corrections to the strong-stretching theory (SST) for polymer brushes are tested against self-consistent field theory (SCFT). The corrections qualitatively account for a number of significant differences between SST and SCFT occurring next to the substrate. This includes severe deviations away from the parabolic field normally predicted by SST, and nonzero slopes in the single-chain segment distributions. When SST is also combined with corrections for the end-segment entropy, the quantitative agreement with SCFT becomes impressive, particularly in regards to the self-consistent field and the stretching energy of individual chains.

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