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Predicting the Mesophases of Copolymer-Nanoparticle Composites

Science  29 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5526, pp. 2469-2472
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060585

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Abstract

The interactions between mesophase-forming copolymers and nanoscopic particles can lead to highly organized hybrid materials. The morphology of such composites depends not only on the characteristics of the copolymers, but also on the features of the nanoparticles. To explore this vast parameter space and predict the mesophases of the hybrids, we have developed a mean field theory for mixtures of soft, flexible chains and hard spheres. Applied to diblock-nanoparticle mixtures, the theory predicts ordered phases where particles and diblocks self-assemble into spatially periodic structures. The method can be applied to other copolymer-particle mixtures and can be used to design novel composite architectures.

  • * Present address: Dow Chemical Company, Building 1702, Midland, MI 48674, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: balazs1{at}engrng.pitt.edu

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