Matt Lane (in Sandia’s Computational Materials and Data Science Dept.) worked with Gary Grest (in Sandia’s Nanostructure Physics Dept.) to understand the assembly of coated nanoparticles on the surface of water. Using atom-scale simulation, the researchers determined that subtle changes in particle coating can dramatically alter the morphologies of self-assembled nanoparticle structures. Their research shows that surprisingly simple short chain polymer coatings can be effectively used to selectively control the aggregation of very small nanoparticles by taking advantage of the environment-responsive shape produced by the coating’s spontaneous asymmetry on high-curvature nanoparticles.
This work was featured on the May 21, 2014, cover (at right) of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Nanoscale (Vol. 6, pg. 4945).