DMREF: Collaborative Research: Interface-promoted Assembly and Disassembly Processes for Rapid Manufacture and Transport of Complex Hybrid Nanomaterials-
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NON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: The intimate combination of inorganic nanoparticles and organic polymers within nanoscopic packages of controlled sizes and shapes includes many challenges with the processes for their production and many opportunities for unique materials properties. Organic polymers are typically considered as plastics and they have physical and mechanical properties that allow them to serve common roles, such as elastic materials (clothing, tents, parachutes, etc.), containment vessels (cups, plastic bags, etc.), and high technology needs, such as optical materials (eye glasses, OLED devices, etc.), engineering materials (airplane parts, football helmets, etc.), among many others. Inorganic nanoparticles are typically rigid and often possess characteristics of magnetism, optical signaling or catalytic reactivity. This project will develop computational methods to guide approaches to rapidly discover and manufacture hybrid inorganic-organic nanostructured objects (HIONs) possessing complexity of compositions, structures, properties and functions. TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: The primary hypothesis driving our project is that the contrasting interactions of polymers vs nanoparticles vs HIONs with each other and with surfaces and flow fields in porous media and other designed interfaces can be harnessed to develop methods for scalable production. The assembly of organic polymers or inorganic particles or their co-assembly is usually conducted in either the solution state or in the bulk. Although simulations have guided polymer and particle assembly processes, this research activity adds the complexity of assembly/disassembly in a flow field and in an adaptive resolution solvent(s) model, and will elucidate how interfaces impact assembly/disassembly. Experimentally, HION assembly/disassembly at solution-solid substrate interfaces in a flow system or at solvent-solvent interfaces represent new frontiers. Only recently has incorporation of discrete nanoscale heterogeneity on surfaces been demonstrated to allow quantitative mechanistic prediction of particle retention on unfavorable surfaces, as well as mechanistic prediction of release in response to perturbations in solution ionic strength and fluid velocity. Ultimately, the primary goal is to be able to conduct high throughput, tunable manufacturing of complex HIONs that exhibit compositions, structures, morphologies and properties for diverse technological applications.