Nanoparticle ordering via functionalized block copolymers in solution
We consider nanoparticles and functionalized copolymers, block copolymers with attached end groups possessing a specific affinity for nanoparticles, in solution. Using molecular dynamics, we show that nanoparticles are able to direct the self-assembly of the polymer/ nanoparticle composite. We perform a detailed study for a wide range of nanoparticle sizes and concentrations. We show that the nanoparticles order in a number of distinct phases: simple cubic, layered hexagonal, hexagonal columnar, gyroid, and a novel square columnar. Our results show that nanoparticles ordered with functionalized block copolymers can provide a simple and efficient tool for assembling novel materials with nanometer scale resolution.
Reprinted (adapted) with permission from ACS Nano 2 (2008): 1259, doi: 10.1021/nn8001449. Copyright 2008 American Chemical Society.