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Biomicrofluidics. 2012 Jul 13;6(3):34101. doi: 10.1063/1.4732799. Print 2012 Sep.

Translocation of nanoparticles through a polymer brush-modified nanochannel.

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College of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Jilin University, Changchun 130022, China.


A basic understanding of the transport mechanisms of nanostructures in a polymer brush-modified nanochannel as well as the brush-nanostructure interactions at molecular level is important to design and fabricate emerging smart nano/microfluidic channels. In this work, we report coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of the translocation of nanoparticles through a cylindrical nanochannel coated with the polymer brush. The effects of the interparticle interaction and grafting density on the distribution and electrokinetic transport of nanoparticles are addressed in detail. Analysis of the distribution and velocity profiles of nanoparticles from the simulations indicate that the location of nanoparticles along the radial direction and their migration velocity are very sensitive to the change of interparticle interaction. We find complicated transport dynamics of nanoparticles under the influence of various grafting densities. The nanoparticles show markedly different translocation behavior upon increasing the grafting density, which depends on the counterion distribution, free room within the brush, nanoparticle-polymer friction, and brush configuration. Our results may serve as a useful starting point for the transport of nanostructures in polymer-modified channels and help to guide the design of novel smart nanofluidic channels for controlling the migration behavior of nanostructures.

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