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Open Access NANO PERSPECTIVES

Nanoparticle Network Formation in Nanostructured and Disordered Block Copolymer Matrices

Michelle K Gaines16, Steven D Smith3, Jon Samseth45, Saad A Khan2 and Richard J Spontak12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Materials Science & Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695, USA

2 Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695, USA

3 Miami Valley Innovation Center, The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH, 45061, USA

4 Department of Process Technology, SINTEF Materials & Chemistry, 7465, Trondheim, Norway

5 Akershus University College, 2001, Lillestrøm, Norway

6 Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Atlanta, GA, 30332, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2010, 5:1712-1718  doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9775-y

Published: 14 September 2010

Abstract

Incorporation of nanoparticles composed of surface-functionalized fumed silica (FS) or native colloidal silica (CS) into a nanostructured block copolymer yields hybrid nanocomposites whose mechanical properties can be tuned by nanoparticle concentration and surface chemistry. In this work, dynamic rheology is used to probe the frequency and thermal responses of nanocomposites composed of a symmetric poly(styrene-b-methyl methacrylate) (SM) diblock copolymer and varying in nanoparticle concentration and surface functionality. At sufficiently high loading levels, FS nanoparticle aggregates establish a load-bearing colloidal network within the copolymer matrix. Transmission electron microscopy images reveal the morphological characteristics of the nanocomposites under these conditions.

Keywords:
Block copolymer; Colloidal network; Nanostructured polymer; Nanocomposite; Silica; Nanoparticles; Fumed silica; Colloidal silica