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This content will become publicly available on December 8, 2018

Title: Ordering nanoparticles with polymer brushes

Ordering nanoparticles into a desired super-structure is often crucial for their technological applications. We use molecular dynamics simulations to study the assembly of nanoparticles in a polymer brush randomly grafted to a planar surface as the solvent evaporates. Initially, the nanoparticles are dispersed in a solvent that wets the polymer brush. After the solvent evaporates, the nanoparticles are either inside the brush or adsorbed at the surface of the brush, depending on the strength of the nanoparticle-polymer interaction. For strong nanoparticle-polymer interactions, a 2-dimensional ordered array is only formed when the brush density is finely tuned to accommodate a single layer of nanoparticles. When the brush density is higher or lower than this optimal value, the distribution of nanoparticles shows large fluctuations in space and the packing order diminishes. For weak nanoparticle-polymer interactions, the nanoparticles order into a hexagonal array on top of the polymer brush as long as the grafting density is high enough to yield a dense brush. As a result, an interesting healing effect is observed for a low-grafting-density polymer brush that can become more uniform in the presence of weakly adsorbed nanoparticles.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0021-9606; 657948; TRN: US1801576
Grant/Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000; AC02-05CH11231; NA0003525
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Chemical Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 147; Journal Issue: 22; Journal ID: ISSN 0021-9606
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1412002