Issue 30, 2022

A nanofluidic system based on cylindrical polymer brushes: how to control the size of nanodroplets

Abstract

In molecular dynamics simulations we investigate the self-organized formation of droplets from a continuous flow of incoming nanoparticles. This transformation is facilitated by a cylindrical channel that is decorated with a polymer brush in a marginally poor solvent. We analyze droplet formation and propagation by means of simple scaling arguments which are tested in the simulations. Polymer brushes in marginally poor solvents serve as a pressure feedback system, exhibit a collapse transition under the moderate pressure of the incident flow, without the need for additional external stimuli, and finally close spontaneously after droplet passage. Our results qualitatively demonstrate the control of polymer brushes over continuous fluids and droplet formation, and its effectiveness as a means of fluid control can be used to design nanofluidic rectification devices that operate reliably under moderate pressure.

Graphical abstract: A nanofluidic system based on cylindrical polymer brushes: how to control the size of nanodroplets

Article information

Article type
Paper
Submitted
26 Apr 2022
Accepted
01 Jul 2022
First published
06 Jul 2022

Soft Matter, 2022,18, 5598-5604

A nanofluidic system based on cylindrical polymer brushes: how to control the size of nanodroplets

C. Li, H. Merlitz and J. Sommer, Soft Matter, 2022, 18, 5598 DOI: 10.1039/D2SM00527A

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