Analytical theory of polymer-network-mediated interaction between colloidal particles

Michele, Lorenzo Di and Zaccone, Alessio and Eiser, Erika (2012) Analytical theory of polymer-network-mediated interaction between colloidal particles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109 (26). pp. 10187-10192. DOI 10.1073/pnas.1202171109

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Abstract

Nanostructured materials based on colloidal particles embedded in a polymer network are used in a variety of applications ranging from nanocomposite rubbers to organic-inorganic hybrid solar cells. Further, polymer-network-mediated colloidal interactions are highly relevant to biological studies whereby polymer hydrogels are commonly employed to probe the mechanical response of living cells, which can determine their biological function in physiological environments. The performance of nanomaterials crucially relies upon the spatial organization of the colloidal particles within the polymer network that depends, in turn, on the effective interactions between the particles in the medium. Existing models based on nonlocal equilibrium thermodynamics fail to clarify the nature of these interactions, precluding the way toward the rational design of polymer-composite materials. In this article, we present a predictive analytical theory of these interactions based on a coarse-grained model for polymer networks. We apply the theory to the case of colloids partially embedded in cross-linked polymer substrates and clarify the origin of attractive interactions recently observed experimentally. Monte Carlo simulation results that quantitatively confirm the theoretical predictions are also presented.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2012AREP; IA64;
Subjects: 99 - Other
Divisions: 99 - Other
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume: 109
Page Range: pp. 10187-10192
Identification Number: 10.1073/pnas.1202171109
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2012 10:26
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:04
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/2560

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