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Issue 5, 2014
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Self-assembly of polymer-grafted nanoparticles in thin films

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We use large-scale molecular dynamics simulations with a coarse-grained model to investigate the self-assembly of solvent-free grafted nanoparticles into thin free-standing films. Two important findings are highlighted. First, for appropriately chosen values of system parameters the nanoparticles spontaneously assemble into monolayer thick films. Further, the nanoparticles self-assemble into a variety of morphologies ranging from dispersed particles, finite stripes, long strings, to percolating networks. The main driving force for these morphologies is the competition between strong short-range attractions of the particle cores and long-range entropic repulsions of the grafted chains. The grafted nanoparticle systems provide practical means to realize two-length-scale systems that have been previously seen, using a simple two-dimensional model [G. Malescio and G. Pellicane, Nat. Mater., 2003, 2, 97], to generate a variety of morphologies. However, there are only relatively narrow ranges of interaction strengths and chain lengths for which anisotropic self-assembly is possible.

Graphical abstract: Self-assembly of polymer-grafted nanoparticles in thin films

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Sep 2013, accepted on 21 Nov 2013 and first published on 26 Nov 2013

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52328D
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 786-794
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    Self-assembly of polymer-grafted nanoparticles in thin films

    T. Lafitte, S. K. Kumar and A. Z. Panagiotopoulos, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 786
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52328D

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