We investigate the thermodynamic behavior of a model polymer-grafted nanoparticle (GNP) system on a fine lattice, using grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations, to compare and contrast the validity of two different models for GNPs: "nanoparticle amphiphiles" versus "patchy particles." In the former model, continuous self-assembly processes are expected to dominate the system, whereas the latter are characterized by first-order phase separation into novel equilibrium phases such as "empty liquids." We find that, in general, considering GNPs as amphiphiles within the framework of a recent mean-field theory [Pryamtisyn et al., J. Chem. Phys. 131, 221102 (2009)] provides a qualitatively accurate description of the thermodynamics of GNP systems, revealing either first-order phase separation into two isotropic phases or continuous self-assembly. Our model GNPs display no signs of empty liquid formation, suggesting that these nanoparticles do not provide a route to such phases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry