Modeling the Assembly of Polymer-Grafted Nanoparticles at Oil-Water Interfaces

X Yong, LANGMUIR, 31, 11458-11469 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b03405

Using dissipative particle dynamics (DPD), I model the interfacial adsorption and self-assembly of polymer-grafted nanoparticles at a planar oil water interface. The amphiphilic core-shell nanoparticles irreversibly adsorb to the interface and create a monolayer covering the interface. The polymer chains of the adsorbed nanoparticles are significantly deformed by surface tension to conform to the interface. I quantitatively characterize the properties of the particle-laden interface and the structure of the monolayer in detail at different surface coverages. I observe that the monolayer of particles grafted with long polymer chains undergoes an intriguing liquid crystalline amorphous phase transition in which the relationship between the monolayer structure and the surface tension/pressure of the interface is elucidated. Moreover, my results indicate that the amorphous state at high surface coverage is induced by the anisotropic distribution of the randomly grafted chains on each particle core, which leads to noncircular in-plane morphology formed under excluded volume effects. These studies provide a fundamental understanding of the interfacial behavior of polymer-grafted nanoparticles for achieving complete control of the adsorption and subsequent self-assembly.

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