Nanoparticle ordering via functionalized block copolymers in solution

R Sknepnek and JA Anderson and MH Lamm and J Schmalian and A Travesset, ACS NANO, 2, 1259-1265 (2008).

DOI: 10.1021/nn8001449

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.

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