Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 35, 2017
Previous Article Next Article

The spatial arrangement of a single nanoparticle in a thin polymer film and its effect on the nanoparticle diffusion

Author affiliations

Abstract

The spatial arrangement of nanoparticles (NPs) within thin polymer films may influence their properties such as the glass transition temperature. Questions regarding what may affect the spatial arrangement of NPs, however, still remain unanswered at a molecular level. In this work, we perform molecular dynamics simulations for a free-standing thin polymer film with a single NP. We find from simulations that depending on the NP size and the inter-particle interaction between the NP and polymers, one may control the spatial arrangement of the NP. When the interaction between the NP and polymers is sufficiently attractive (repulsive), the NP is likely to be placed at the center (at the surface) of the thin film in equilibrium. Interestingly, for a moderate interaction between the NP and polymers, the first-order transition occurs in the spatial arrangement of the NP as one increases the NP size: a small NP prefers the surface of the polymer film whereas a large NP prefers the center. Such a first-order transition is corroborated by calculating the free energy of the NP as a function of the position and can be understood in terms of a sixth-order Landau free energy. More interestingly, the diffusion of the NP also changes drastically due to the first-order transition in the spatial arrangement. The NP diffusion is enhanced drastically (more than expected in bulk polymer melts) as the NP is shifted to the polymer film surface.

Graphical abstract: The spatial arrangement of a single nanoparticle in a thin polymer film and its effect on the nanoparticle diffusion

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 05 Jun 2017, accepted on 21 Jul 2017 and first published on 24 Jul 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01115F
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017,13, 5897-5904
  •   Request permissions

    The spatial arrangement of a single nanoparticle in a thin polymer film and its effect on the nanoparticle diffusion

    H. Im, Y. Oh, H. W. Cho, J. Kim, K. Paeng and B. J. Sung, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 5897
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01115F

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements