Collective ordering of colloids in grafted polymer layers

Tine Curk, Francisco J. Martinez-Veracoechea, Daan Frenkel, Jure Dobnikar
  • Soft Matter, January 2013, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • DOI: 10.1039/c3sm50486g

Colloidal patterns in polymer brushes

What is it about?

Hard colloids and self-avoiding polymers tend to phase separate. However, when polymers are grafted to a surface, complete phase separation is not possible. The competition between macrophase separation and elastic brush deformation results in the formation of distinct colloidal patterns within the brush layers. We performed computer simulations, characterized and also theoretically explained the observed patterns.

Why is it important?

Despite the fact that polymer brushes were extensively studied in the past, collective ordering of colloidal particles within polymer layers received relativley little attention. We demonstrate that novel colloidal self-assembly patterns can be achieved within polymer layers. Moreover, the addition of colloidal particles controls response behaviour of the brushes. Our results are a basis for applications such miniature sensing, surface characterization, particle filtration and energy storage.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Jure Dobnikar

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