Janus Gold Nanoparticles from Nanodroplets of Alkyl Thiols: A Molecular Dynamics Study

D Bhandary and V Valechi and MNDS Cordeiro and JK Singh, LANGMUIR, 33, 3056-3067 (2017).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b04680

Janus particles provide an asymmetry in structure, which can impart diverse functionalities leading to immense importance in various applications, ranging from targeted delivery to interfacial phenomena, including catalysis, electronics, and optics. In this work, we present results of a molecular dynamics study of the growth mechanism of coating on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) from droplets of n-alkyl thiols with different chain lengths (C5 and C11) and terminal groups (CH3 and COOH). The effect of chain lengths and functional groups on the formation of a monolayer of alkyl thiols on AuNPs is investigated. A two-step mechanism, initiated by the binding of the droplet to the nanoparticle surface with a time constant on the order of similar to 1 ns, followed by the diffusion-driven growth with a larger time constant (on the order of 100 ns), is shown to capture the growth dynamics of the monolayer. It is observed that the time required for complete wetting increases with an increase in the chain length. Moreover, the monolayer formation is slowed down in the presence of carboxyl groups because of strong hydrogen bonding. The kinetics of the n-alkyl thiols coating on the nanoparticles is found to be independent of the droplet size but carboxyl-terminated thiols spread more with increasing droplet size. Furthermore, different time constants for different chains and functional groups yield Janus coating when two droplets of alkyl thiols with different terminal groups are allowed to form monolayers on the nanoparticle. The Janus balance (beta) for different combinations of alkyl thiols and nanoparticle sizes varies in the range of 0.42-0.71.

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