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- ACS Nano
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- National Science Foundation
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The integration of layer-by-layer (LbL) and self-assembly methods has the potential to achieve precision assembly of nanocomposite materials. Knowledge of how nanoparticles move across and within stacked materials is critical for directing nanoparticle assembly. Here, we investigate nanoparticle self-assembly within two different LbL architectures: (1) a bilayer composed of two immiscible polymer thin-films, and (2) a bilayer composed of polymer and graphene that possesses a “hard-soft” interface. Polymer-grafted silver nanocubes (AgNCs) are employed as a model nanoparticle system for systematic experiments – characterizing both assembly rate and resulting morphologies – that examine how assembly is affected by the presence of an interface. We observe that polymer grafts can serve to anchor AgNCs at the bilayer interface and to decrease particle mobility, or can promote particle transfer between layers. We also find that polymer viscosity and polymer mixing parameters can be used as predictors of assembly rate and behavior. These results provide a pathway for designing more complex multilayered nanocomposites.
Faceted nanoparticles can be used as building blocks to assemble nanomaterials with exceptional optical and catalytic properties. Recent studies have shown that surface functionalization of such nanoparticles with organic molecules, polymer chains, or DNA can be used to control the separation distance and orientation of particles within their assemblies. In this study, we computationally investigate the mechanism of assembly of nanocubes grafted with short-chain molecules. Our approach involves computing the interaction free energy landscape of a pair of such nanocubes via Monte Carlo simulations and using the Dijkstra algorithm to determine the minimum free energy pathway connecting key states in the landscape. We find that the assembly pathway of nanocubes is very rugged involving multiple energy barriers and metastable states. Analysis of nanocube configurations along the pathway reveals that the assembly mechanism is dominated by sliding motion of nanocubes relative to each other punctuated by their local dissociation at grafting points involving lineal separation and rolling motions. The height of energy barriers between metastable states depends on factors such as the interaction strength and surface roughness of the nanocubes and the steric repulsion from the grafts. These results imply that the observed assembly configuration of nanocubes depends not only onmore »
Surface functionalization of nanoparticles with polymer grafts was recently shown to be a viable strategy for controlling the relative orientation of shaped nanoparticles in their higher-order assemblies. In this study, we investigated in silico the orientational phase behavior of coplanar polymer-grafted nanocubes confined in a thin film. We first used Monte Carlo simulations to compute the two-particle interaction free-energy landscape of the nanocubes and identify their globally stable configurations. The nanocubes were found to exhibit four stable phases: those with edge–edge and face–face orientations, and those exhibiting partially overlapped slanted and parallel faces previously assumed to be metastable. Moreover, the edge–edge configuration originally thought to involve kissing edges instead displayed partly overlapping edges, where the extent of the overlap depends on the attachment positions of the grafts. We next formulated analytical scaling expressions for the free energies of the identified configurations, which were used for constructing a comprehensive phase diagram of nanocube orientation in a multidimensional parameter space comprising of the size and interaction strength of the nanocubes and the Kuhn length and surface density of the grafts. The morphology of the phase diagram was shown to arise from an interplay between polymer- and surface-mediated interactions, especially differences in theirmore »
Magnetic nanoparticle chains offer the anisotropic magnetic properties that are often desirable for micro‐ and nanoscale systems; however, to date, large‐scale fabrication of these nanochains is limited by the need for an external magnetic field during the synthesis. In this work, the unique self‐assembly of nanoparticles into chains as a result of their intrinsic dipolar interactions only is examined. In particular, it is shown that in a high concentration reaction regime, the dipole–dipole coupling between two neighboring magnetic iron cobalt (FeCo) nanocubes, was significantly strengthened due to small separation between particles and their high magnetic moments. This dipole–dipole interaction enables the independent alignment and synthesis of magnetic FeCo nanochains without the assistance of any templates, surfactants, or even external magnetic field. Furthermore, the precursor concentration ([M] = 0.016, 0.021, 0.032, 0.048, 0.064, and 0.096
m) that dictates the degree of dipole interaction is examined—a property dependent on particle size and inter‐particle distance. By varying the spinner speed, it is demonstrated that the balance between magnetic dipole coupling and fluid dynamics can be used to understand the self‐assembly process and control the final structural topology from that of dimers to linear chains (with aspect ratio >10:1) and even to branched networks. Simulationsmore »
Abstract Hierarchical heterostructures of two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials are versatile platforms for nanoscale optoelectronics. Further coupling of these 2D materials with plasmonic nanostructures, especially in non-close-packed morphologies, imparts new metastructural properties such as increased photosensitivity as well as spectral selectivity and range. However, the integration of plasmonic nanoparticles with 2D materials has largely been limited to lithographic patterning and/or undefined deposition of metallic structures. Here we show that colloidally synthesized zero-dimensional (0D) gold nanoparticles of various sizes can be deterministically self-assembled in highly-ordered, anisotropic, non-close-packed, multi-scale morphologies with templates designed from instability-driven, deformed 2D nanomaterials. The anisotropic plasmonic coupling of the particle arrays exhibits emergent polarization-dependent absorbance in the visible to near-IR regions. Additionally, controllable metasurface arrays of nanoparticles by functionalization with varying polymer brushes modulate the plasmonic coupling between polarization dependent and independent assemblies. This self-assembly method shows potential for bottom-up nanomanufacturing of diverse optoelectronic components and can potentially be adapted to a wide array of nanoscale 0D, 1D, and 2D materials.