Interactions and Aggregation of Charged Nanoparticles in Uncharged Polymer Solutions.

by Pandav G, Pryamitsyn V, Ganesan V

Langmuir: the ACS Journal of Surfaces and Colloids, 2015 Nov 4. [Epub ahead of print]

We employ an extension of the single chain in mean field simulation method to study mixtures of charged particles and uncharged polymers. We examine the effect of particle charge, polymer concentration, and particle volume fraction on the resulting particle aggregates. The structures of aggregates were characterized using particle-particle radial distribution functions and cluster size distributions. We observe that the level of aggregation between particles increases with increasing particle volume fraction and polymer concentration and decreasing particle charge. At intermediate regimes of particle volume fraction and polymer concentrations, we observe the formation of equilibrium clusters with a preferred size. We also examined the influence of manybody effects on the structure of a charged particle-polymer system. Our results indicate that the effective two-body approximation overpredicts the aggregation between particles even at dilute particle concentrations. Such effects are thought to be a consequence of the interplay between the respective manybody effects on the depletion and electrostatic interactions.

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