Simulation studies of self-assembly of end-tethered nanorods in solution and role of rod aspect ratio and tether length

Horsch, Mark A.; Zhenli Zhang; Glotzer, Sharon C.
November 2006
Journal of Chemical Physics;11/14/2006, Vol. 125 Issue 18, p184903
Academic Journal
We present temperature versus concentration phase diagrams for “shape amphiphiles” comprised of tethered moderate and low aspect ratio rods. Simulations of moderate aspect ratio rods (first reported by Horsch et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 056105 (2005)]) predict their self-assembly into spherical micelles with bcc order, long micelles with nematic order, a racemic mixture of hexagonally ordered chiral cylinders, two perforated phases: one with tetragonal order and one with hexagonal order, and a smectic C lamellar phase. In contrast, we predict here that small aspect ratio tethered rods self-assemble into bcc ordered spherical micelles, hexagonally ordered cylinders, and a smectic C lamellar phase. We compare and contrast the phases obtained for the two aspect ratios and examine in further detail several unusual phases. Our simulations also reveal that for moderate aspect ratio rods there is a tendency toward phases with decreasing interfacial curvature with decreasing coil size, including a double gyroid phase. In addition, we investigate the role of tether length on the assembled structures. Our results are applicable to short rod-coil block copolymers and rodlike nanoparticles with polymer tethers, and to colloidal building blocks comprised of a flexible string of colloids tethered to a rigid string of colloids, with the interactions scaled appropriately.


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