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  1. Ionic liquid mixed with poly(methyl methacrylate)-grafted nanoparticle aggregates at low particle concentrations was shown to exhibit different dynamics and ionic conductivity than that of pure ionic liquid in our previous studies. In this work, we report on the quasi-elastic neutron scattering results on ionic liquid containing polymer-grafted nanoparticles at the higher particle concentration. The diffusivity of imidazolium (HMIM + ) cations of 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (HMIM-TFSI) in the presence of poly(methyl methacrylate)-grafted iron oxide nanoparticles and the ionic conductivity of solutions were discussed through the confinement. Analysis of the elastic incoherent structure factor suggested the confinement radius decreased with the addition of grafted particles in HMIM-TFSI/solvent mixture, indicating the confinement that is induced by the high concentration of grafted particles, shrinks the HMIM-TFSI restricted volume. We further conjecture that this enhanced diffusivity occurs as a result of the local ordering of cations within aggregates of poly(methyl methacrylate)-grafted particles. 
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  2. The molecular morphology and dynamics of conjugated polymers in the bulk solid state play a significant role in determining macroscopic charge transport properties. To understand this relationship, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and quantum mechanical calculations are used to evaluate local electronic properties. In this work, we investigate the importance of system and simulation parameters, such as force fields and equilibration methods, when simulating amorphous poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), a model semiconducting polymer. An assessment of MD simulations for five different published P3HT force fields is made by comparing results to experimental wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) and to a broad range of quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS) data. Moreover, an in silico analysis of force field parameters reveals that atomic partial charges and torsion potentials along the backbone and side chains have the greatest impact on structure and dynamics related to charge transport mechanisms in P3HT. 
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  3. Abstract

    Polymer segmental dynamics in polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) can be significantly perturbed from bulk and underlie macroscopic mechanical and transport properties, but fundamental studies are necessary to build correlations between dynamics and properties. To elucidate a mechanistic description of this perturbation and isolate different molecular motions, we present quasi‐elastic neutron scattering (QENS) measurements on PNCs with attractive interactions comprised of colloidal silica nanoparticles (NPs) uniformly dispersed in poly(2‐vinyl pyridine) (P2VP) with and without backbone deuteration. Measurements of fully‐protonated P2VP probe the dynamics of both the polymer backbone and pyridine pendant group; whereas measurements of backbone‐deuterated P2VP isolate the dynamics of only the pyridine ring. On the small length scales (~1 nm) and fast time scales (~1 ns) captured by QENS, we show that the backbone and pyridine ring dynamics are highly coupled at high temperatures and both are slowed by about 35% relative to neat polymer in 25 vol% PNCs. This observation implies that the backbone and pendant interfacial dynamics are perturbed similarly in PNCs, which further develops our fundamental understanding of microscopic properties in PNCs.

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