Get access

Absorption and engulfing transitions in nanoparticle infiltration into a polymer brush: A monte carlo simulation

Authors

  • Yantao Chen,

    1. College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Functional Polymer, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jeff Z. Y. Chen

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L3G1
    • Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L3G1
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

We study the structure of an infiltrating hard spherical nanoparticle into a polymer brush using extensive off-lattice Monte Carlo simulations of a basic theoretical model. We show that as long as the spherical particle is coated with a surface layer that interacts attractively with brush monomers, it can penetrate deeply into a dense polymer brush near the grafting surface. The infiltration process contains two stages: diffusing nanoparticle absorbing onto the surface of the polymer brush and engulfing of the nanoparticle by polymer chains. After the nanoparticle fully immerses in the dense polymer brush region, the buoyant forces levels off because of symmetric repulsions that endows increasing nanoparticle mobility and encourages the second transition. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys, 2011

Ancillary