Self-assembly of nanorods on soft elastic shells

XH Wen and D Zhang and AH Chai and LL He and SY Ran and LX Zhang, SOFT MATTER, 8, 6706-6712 (2012).

DOI: 10.1039/c2sm25477h

The self-assembly behavior of nanorods (NRs) on soft elastic shells is investigated using the molecular dynamics (MD) simulation method. The self-assembly structures of the adsorbed nanorods depend on the length of the nanorods as well as the bending energy of the soft elastic shells. For short nanorods, the aggregates consist of regular pentagons around the gibbosity at low bending energies, and the ordered structures are gradually broken when the bending energy increases. In the meantime, the adsorption ability of the nanorods on the elastic shells decreases when the binding energy increases. For long nanorods, the binding energy can induce the nanorods to aggregate in clusters on shells with low or moderate bending energy, and each cluster is formed by several parallel long nanorods. However, the self-assembly structures of long nanorods disappear for shells with high bending energy because the adsorption becomes isotropic for nanorods on a rigid shell. Meanwhile, the adsorption of nanorods on the shell can also affect the shape of the soft elastic shell, especially for long nanorods. This investigation can help us understand the complexity of the self-assembly of nanorods on an elastic shell.

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