Diffusion Tensors of Arbitrary-Shaped Nanoparticles in Fluid by Molecular Dynamics Simulation

ZT Zhang and X Zhao and BY Cao, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 9, 18943 (2019).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-55042-9

The anisotropic diffusive behavior of nanoparticles with complex shapes attracts great interest due to its potential applications in many fields ranging from bionics to aeronautic industry. Although molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are used widely to investigate nanoparticle diffusion properties, universal methods to describe the diffusion process comprehensively are still lacking. Here, we address this problem by introducing diffusion tensor as it can describe translational and rotational diffusion in three dimensions both individually and their coupling. We take carbon triple sphere suspended in argon fluid as our model system. The consistency of our results and velocity autocorrelation function(VAF) method validates our simulations. The coupling between translational and rotational diffusion is observed directly from analyzing diffusion tensor, and quantified by coupling diffusion coefficient. Our simulation reveals non-trivial effect of some factors in diffusion at nanoscale, which was not considered in previous theories. In addition to introducing an effective method to calculate the diffusion tensor in MD simulations, our work also provides insights for understanding the diffusion process of arbitrary-shaped particles in nanoengineering.

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