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J Chem Phys. 2005 Nov 8;123(18):184718.

Self-assembled morphologies of monotethered polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane nanocubes from computer simulation.

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  • 1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2136, USA.


Self-assembly of functionalized nanoscale building blocks is a promising strategy for "bottom-up" materials design. Recent experiments have demonstrated that the self-assembly of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) "nanocubes" functionalized with organic tethers can be utilized to synthesize novel materials with highly ordered, complex nanostructures. We have performed molecular simulations for a simplified model of monotethered POSS nanocubes to investigate systematically how the parameters that control the assembly process and the resulting equilibrium structures, including concentration, temperature, tether lengths, and solvent conditions, can be manipulated to achieve useful structures via self-assembly. We report conventional lamellar and cylindrical structures that are typically found in block copolymer and surfactant systems, including a thermotropic order-order transition, but with interesting stabilization of the lamellar phase caused by the bulkiness and cubic geometry of the POSS nanocubes.

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