Tunable slow dynamics in a new class of soft colloids
By means of extensive simulations, we investigate concentrated solutions of globular single-chain nanoparticles (SCNPs), an emergent class of synthetic soft nano-objects. By increasing the concentration, the SCNPs show flattening, and even reentrant behaviour, in the density dependence of their structural and dynamic correlations, as well as a soft caging regime and weak dynamic heterogeneity. The latter is confirmed by validation of the Stokes–Einstein relation up to concentrations far beyond the overlap density. Therefore SCNPs arise as a new class of soft colloids, exhibiting slow dynamics and actualizing in a real system the structural and dynamic anomalies proposed by models of ultrasoft particles. Quantitative differences in the dynamic behaviour depend on the SCNP deformability, which can be tuned through the degree of internal cross-linking.